Sunday 24 September 2017

'Bombarded' Quinn family beg bank to agree mediation deal

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have begged the former Anglo Irish Bank to cut a deal, claiming they are "at their wits' end" and feel crucified by "a constant bombardment" of court orders.

The plea comes as a group set up to support the Quinn family say they are "seriously concerned" about the impact of court actions on the health of the 66-year-old bankrupt businessman and his wife Patricia Quinn.

Mr Quinn's five children, sons-in-law Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly as well as daughter-in-law Karen Woods are facing the prospect of jail if they fail to disclose where their worldwide assets lie or if they fail to reverse up to €500m worth of overseas property transfers.

Mr Quinn, whose only son Sean Quinn Jnr has just served a three-month sentence for contempt of court, will find out next week if he too will be sentenced for breaking court orders not to interfere with the family's international property group (IPG).

But in a significant move, the state-owned bank said that it was "open to the question of mediation" if all of the disputed overseas assets were reinstated to the IPG and the shareholdings of those companies rectified.

Yesterday Mr McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn, told the High Court that the Quinns wanted a mediation of the bitter legal dispute with the IBRC (formerly Anglo).

Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr McPartland, who is a solicitor, said they had told the bank for the past year and a half that it does not have the IPG assets and can't get them.

"We're at our wits' end here, so we are, and in a very difficult position," said Mr McPartland.

Strain

The Quinn family have been without a legal team for two months and sources close to the family said this was causing huge personal strain.

The IBRC wants to cross-examine each of the eight Quinn defendants to establish if they have disclosed full details of asset-stripping measures.

The family insist they are not in control of key international assets. They claim that they have made full disclosure and are resisting what they describe as a "sinister" application to cross-examine them.

Mr McPartland said that the cross-examination would allow the IBRC to "have a go" at the family in the witness box.

The IBRC has denied it has bombarded the Quinn family with court orders and said that it had no choice but to bring the cross-examination application because of "strong non-compliance" by the Quinns.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said if mediation became an option, he would do all he could to assist a resolution.

But he said that it was not appropriate at this stage, due to the bank's belief that the Quinns had not complied with court orders to fully disclose assets.

Comment, page 37

Irish Independent

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