Quinns say 'mirror' firms in place long before Anglo bid on assets
THE "mirror structure" companies that Anglo Irish Bank says were designed to frustrate efforts to seize the Quinn family's international property assets were already in train almost a year before Anglo swooped on their fortune, a family spokesman has claimed.
The spokesman also insisted that there was no connection between the so-called Cranag-han Foundation and a separate Irish company that was renamed as the Cranaghan Trust in late 2009.
The comments come as Anglo Irish Bank and the Quinns prepare to square off in five separate legal battles over the ownership and control of the €500m property empire built up by businessman Sean Quinn and his family.
Anglo is asking the courts to prevent the Quinn family from appropriating assets away from the companies that the bank has taken control of, and claims the Cranaghan Foundation was set up "to wrest ownership and control" from the bank.
In documents lodged with the Irish courts, Anglo says computer files at the Quinn Group reveal that a file on the Cranaghan Foundation was created on March 31, 2011, about two weeks before Anglo sent a share receiver into most of the Quinn empire.
A family spokesman yesterday said that the Quinns had begun work on the foundation "in July 2010" and that the foundation was established before Anglo's receivership action.
The spokesman also insisted the structure of Cranaghan was "starkly" different to the Quinns' international property group.
Cranaghan has four Swedish entities, two Irish and one Russian, he said, while the international property group spans 87 separate companies, including 40 in Sweden, 14 in Russia, eight in Cyprus, eight in India, six in Ireland, three in the Czech Republic, two in Jersey, two in the Ukraine, one in the British Virgin Isles, one in England, one in Turkey and one in the North.
In affidavits lodged in Dublin, Anglo claimed "five umbrella entities" called Family Branch I-V sat above the Cranaghan structure. The bank believes these are for the benefit of Sean Quinn's grandchildren.
The case will return to the Irish courts in early September, when a judge will rule on the Quinn family's claim that the dispute should be heard in Cyrpus, where a number of the international property companies are located.
Separate actions are also under way in Sweden, Russia and the Ukraine.