Monday 23 October 2017

Film of row over $500,000 'shows Quinns can't reverse payment'

Tim Healy

A SECRET recording of a meeting in Ukraine attended by Sean Quinn Jnr, his cousin Peter and some Ukrainians revealed a "torrid row" about money, the Supreme Court has heard.

The footage made it clear that the Quinns cannot reverse a controversial $500,000 (€390,000) payment over which Sean Quinn Jnr was jailed, his lawyer argued yesterday.

The payment was allegedly made to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine (QPU).

The video made clear that whatever relations had previously existed between the Quinns and Ms Puga, they were "at daggers drawn" on January 21, 2012, when the meeting was recorded, Brian O'Moore SC told the Supreme Court.

He was making submissions on the second day of an appeal by Sean Quinn Jnr against his jailing for contempt over his failure to comply with court orders not to interfere with companies or assets in the Quinn family's €500m international property group (IPG).

The payment was made just as QPU was about to be taken over by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, which claims that it is owed €2.8bn by Quinn companies.

The High Court ruled last July that Sean Quinn Jnr was in contempt of orders restraining asset-stripping on the grounds that he participated in the payment to Ms Puga around late August 2011.

He has been detained in the training unit of Mountjoy Prison since then but was in court yesterday, supported by his wife Karen and brother-in-law Niall McPartland.

Mr O'Moore said his client should not be left to languish in jail indefinitely over his failure to reverse that and other alleged transactions stripping assets from the IPG.

Sean Quinn Jnr was not in a position to reverse the payment, he told the court.

Even if the inability to reverse was the result of his client's own actions, which was denied, that could not be a basis for keeping him in prison, Mr O'Moore argued.

His client should not be kept in jail for failing to comply with the 30 coercive orders to reverse other asset-stripping transactions when he had only been found in contempt on one issue -- the Puga payment.

Contempt

Mr O'Moore said the video recording of the Ukrainian meeting made clear that his client could not reverse the payment made to Mr Puga.

The Quinns owned just 15pc of QPU, with the rest owned by their neighbours and relatives, he added.

It was clear that the recording had been made by an unknown person hostile to the Quinns and, continued counsel, they objected to it being viewed by the High Court on the grounds that it was only a 15-minute record of the hour-long meeting in January 2012 and was not proven in evidence.

Nevertheless, the DVD was admitted as evidence.

Earlier, Paul Gardiner SC, counsel for IBRC, said the bank did not accept claims by the Quinn family that more than €430m assets in their IPG were all gone and could not now be recovered.

He added that the undisputed evidence was that, in order to remove monies from the IPG companies, the Quinns had engaged in a "deliberate and complex fraud" of those companies which continued after court orders restraining asset stripping were made in summer 2011.

The appeal continues today.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News