Sunday 28 December 2014

Anglo's UK staff are still hired as Quinns ponder court action

Tim Healy and Thomas Molloy

Published 12/02/2013 | 04:00

PA

EMPLOYEES of the former Anglo Irish Bank working in Britain have not lost their jobs since the Government liquidated the bank last week, it emerged yesterday.

News that employees at the bank's unit in London are still employed came as union leaders met the liquidator yesterday.

Staff based in the UK have not had their contracts terminated because the legislation does not apply outside Ireland.

The news that some employees at the former Anglo are still being paid their full salaries was revealed by Irish Bank Officials Association general secretary Larry Broderick following a meeting with liquidator Kieran Wallace from KPMG in Dublin yesterday to discuss last week's decision to liquidate the former Anglo Irish Bank and sack 1,000 employees.

The meeting came as family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn hinted they may challenge part of the emergency legislation which liquidated the bank.

The new law has halted their legal case against the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) which alleges that the bank unlawfully 'shovelled' around €2.34bn of loans in to their companies to prop up the bank's plummeting share price.

Yesterday, the Quinns said they would reserve their position "in relation to any steps to be taken later" if the Commercial Court finds the order halting their case cannot be lifted.

Conundrum

Judge Peter Kelly said he was faced with a "conundrum" as it is unclear whether the new Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Act, which liquidated IBRC, gives any power to the courts to lift an "immediate stay" on all "existing proceedings" against IBRC.

There was also an issue whether he could even allow such an application to be brought. He said the issues should be thrashed out in a hearing on March 7.

The Quinn action is the first main piece of litigation where such an issue has arisen but the outcome of the March hearing will impinge on other proceedings against IBRC affected by the stay, the judge noted.

The stay applies only to "existing" proceedings against IBRC. While the full hearing of the case has been "parked" pending criminal proceedings against former Anglo chairman Sean FitzPatrick and others, various pre-trial matters were continuing until the IBRC Act was passed last week.

The family's lawyers were due to inform the judge yesterday whether they intended to apply to join the Department of Finance and Central Bank – as regulator of the banks – as co-defendants with IBRC.

Yesterday, Paul Gallagher SC said he was representing IBRC in the matter and was instructed by the special liquidators of the bank.

When Judge Kelly expressed concern whether the court could even permit the Quinns to bring an application to lift the stay, Mr Gallagher said he would not object to the application being made but had no instruction yet as to whether the court could lift the stay.

endsMr Gallagher said the issue raised by the family in its action - whether the bank has valid security for loans they allege were unlawfully made - also arose in the bank's own action against various Quinn family members alleging a scheme to put assets beyond its reach.

Patricia Quinn is not involved in the latter action, he added.

Last week, Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, said the IBRC Act appeared "to sanitise" the family's claim that Anglo had breached Section 60 of the Companies Act - which makes it unlawful for a company to advance loans to buy its own shares - in making the €2.34bn loans.

The Act raised "many areas of complexity" and drew a distinction between those being sued by the bank and those suing it, he also remarked.

Irish Independent

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