Business Irish

Saturday 21 October 2017

U-turn as Sean Quinn Snr says he will now help Anglo over €500m property portfolio

Sean Quinn pictured arriving at the High Courts today. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Quinn pictured arriving at the High Courts today. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Quinn pictured arriving at the High Courts today with his daughter in law Karen Woods. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Quinn pictured arriving at the High Courts today with his daughter in law Karen Woods. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Quinn arriving at the High Courts today. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Sean Quinn and Karen Woods make their way to the High Court. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn wants to purge his contempt and is willing to co-operate with the former Anglo Irish Bank, the High Court was told.

This morning the former billionaire was due to be sentenced at the High Court for breaking court orders not to interfere with up to €500m worth of properties in the family’s international property group (IPG).



But the hearing was adjourned for two weeks after the IBRC (the former Anglo Irish Bank), said “significant new material” had emerged which required consideration by the courts.



New lawyers for Ireland's former richest man said that the 66-year-old, who has had two major heart operations, wants to purge his contempt and co-operate with the IBRC.



Mr Quinn, who recently parted with his Dublin legal team, was represented in court today by Belfast human rights law firm, Kevin R Winters, led by Eugene Grant QC.



Mr Grant told the High Court that the new legal team had only been instructed this week and requested time to consider the history of the case and the new evidence submitted by the IBRC.



"My instructions since Tuesday and Wednesday are that since the adjournment of the punitive element there has been co-operation [by Mr Quinn Snr]," said Mr Grant.



Mr Grant said that Sean Quinn Snr, Sean Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn had written to the IBRC to explore the potential for mediation with the IBRC.



Mr Grant said that Mr Quinn is now 66 and has had two serious heart operations.



"He wants to co-operate and purge his contempt," said Mr Grant who is now also representing Sean Quinn Jnr who has just completed a three-month sentence for contempt of court.



Mr Quinn Jnr, dressed in jeans and a jumper, apologised for his clothing in court - he had just been brought from Mountjoy Prison this morning and had expected to be released last night.



The IBRC consented to a brief adjournment - it wants to consider reasons due to be given by the Supreme Court in Sean Quinn Jnr's appeal - but the bank said that court orders were not a matter for mediation.



The written judgment is due to be released on Wednesday.



Senior Counsel Paul Gallagher, for the IBRC, said that the new material has unmasked “a very, very disturbing situation” which included:



- The deliberate and “cynical” backdating of employment contracts which contained termination payments of over €30m for members of the Quinn family;



- Continuing breach of court orders and the continuing extraction of monies from the IPG



Mr Gallagher said that Sean Quinn Snr had done “nothing” to reinstate overseas properties to the former Anglo Irish Bank.



Mr Quinn was accompanied in court by his daughter Aoife Quinn and sat beside his son Sean Quinn Jnr.



Other family members who attended the hearing included sons in law Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly as well as Karen Woods, Sean Quinn Jnr’s wife.



High Court Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said it was "prudent" to afford time to the Quinns to deal with and contest the new evidence, including new information that a court order freezing a $500,000 payment to a businesswoman in the Ukraine.



The court heard that “significant new evidence” had been obtained as a result of a new bankruptcy receiver being appointed to Finnanstroy – the Russian company that owns the Quinn family's $180m Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow - the jewel in the crown of the IPG.



The IBRC said that the documents “demonstrated the continuing control” by the Quinn family, of various companies in their IPG.



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