Irish

Friday 25 July 2014

Oligarchs push Anglo to slash Quinn deal cost

Russian debt collectors want to cut upfront fee

Tom Lyons

Published 24/03/2013|04:00

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Sean Quinn

Russian oligarch-backed asset-recovery experts A1 have renegotiated their deal with IBRC after the bank was put into liquidation by the State.

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A1, which IBRC had partnered with to win back control of the $500m (€385m) international property portfolio of the family of Sean Quinn, has slashed its upfront payment to enter the joint venture from $30m to $17m.

The billionaire-backed A1 also expressed concerns that asset recovery might be made more difficult as IBRC was now in liquidation.

It expressed legal worries and fears that the liquidation would encourage shadowy forces that have taken control of some of these assets to fight harder to hold on to them.

KPMG has reassured A1 that it is determined to pursue the Quinns' overseas assets vigorously to recover maximum value for the taxpayer.

In return for the concession, KPMG has secured a greater percentage of the spoils from any asset recoveries, if recovery is successful.

The split is thought to be roughly 80 per cent in favour of the special liquidator for the first $150m recovered, 60 per cent for the next tranche and a cascading downward scale thereafter.

Ultimately, KPMG believes the new deal will return more money to the taxpayer, provided it and A1 can succeed in taking back control of the overseas assets.

Richard Woodhouse, the IBRC executive who had masterminded the asset recovery, was sacked by the State when it put the entire bank into liquidation. The veteran executive has returned to England despite being intensely involved in the Quinn overseas asset hunt since joining the bank.

He signed all of the bank's key affidavits in legal battles in Ireland, Cyprus, Belize, the Ukraine, Russia and the Middle East. Mr Woodhouse's departure is seen by A1 as a mistake by the State, according to a well-placed source.

A1 is owned by billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexsey Kuzmichov, who are considered close to the Kremlin and known for their skill in legal and corporate skirmishes in difficult situations.

In the past, the three men have taken on giant companies such as BP and Telenor.

Dmitry Vozianov, a managing director with A1 since 2010 who is leading the asset recovery action, did not respond to requests for comment.

Separately, it was reported recently that the search for the Quinns' overseas assets has moved into Switzerland, Singapore and an investment firm in Hong Kong.

Irish Independent

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