Court rules Quinn family will be cross-examined over assets
Published 11/12/2012 | 17:20
MEMBERS of bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn's family will have to face cross examination to establish if they have given full details of their accounts and assets, a judge has ruled.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly today gave the go-ahead to the former Anglo Irish Bank, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), to carry out the court cross examination.
Mr Justice Kelly said he was satisfied this was necessary " to fill the vacuum".
Two days have been set aside in the Commercial Court on January 24 and 25 next year for the cross examination which will mean Sean Quinn Jr, his wife Karen Woods and the Quinn daughters Ciara, Colette, Aoife and Brenda, along with Ciara's husband Niall McPartland, will have to take the stand.
They will be asked about information in affidavits already sworn by them, including new information disclosed in more recent affidavits.
The Quinns contend they have disclosed full details but the bank claim otherwise.
The judge said the bank's application has been criticised as amounting to a "fishing expedition" or roving cross examination.
"It is not and will not be permitted to become a trawl through material which will fall to be determined at trial", he said.
The judge said Richard Woodhouse of the IBRC had identified principal areas of alleged non disclosure or inadequate disclosure which was the focus of the bank's application including documents relating to the control of the Quinn international property group (IPG) companies, assets and bank accounts and documents relating to salaries from Russian IPG companies in 2011 and 2012.
Mr Woodhouse's affidavit, the judge said, concluded that he (Woodhouse) does not believe that the defendants have told the whole truth in relation to their assets and their ability to procure relevant documentation.
Mr Justice Kelly said if the court directs the cross examination it is to be assumed it will be conducted in accordance with the rules of evidence and with due regards for such defendants' entitlements both under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The judge rejected the contention put forward by the Quinns that a number of documents which have been disclosed referring to activities in Russia are now within the remit of the Russian courts.
He also rejected the Quinns argument that the court ought not to order cross examination unless in the case of each and everyone of them there is identified a specific shortcoming or query in relation to disclosure already made.
The judge said it was quite clear " even from a cursory perusal of the email traffic which has been disclosed to date that members of the Quinn family and their in-laws have over periods of time been in constant communication with each other pertaining to assets, transactions and dealings in respect of these extensive properties situated in other jurisdictions"
The judge said his order did not in any way dilute or interfere with the entitlements against self incrimination which the defendants have.
"A question when how and to what extent that right can be exercised is a matter that will fall to be determined during their cross examination," he added.