Wednesday 24 May 2017

Hearing halted as Quinn family blocked from transferring international assets

Laura Noonan and David Forsythe

THE hearing into an international property row between Anglo Irish Bank and the Quinn family was unexpectedly halted yesterday after the Quinns agreed to the extension of a court order banning them from interfering with the €500m property portfolio.

The order means the Quinn family are now prohibited from transferring any assets out of the international property group or issuing any new shares in related companies until September 9 at the earliest.

The order will be lifted then only if the judge rules in favour of the Quinns' argument that the Irish courts have no jurisdiction to deal with a dispute that involves companies outside of Ireland and contracts governed by foreign law.

If the judge rules that Ireland is the appropriate jurisdiction, then the injunction will remain in place until the case can be heard in full, most likely in November or December.

Anglo had been pushing for the extension of the injunction, but faced opposition from the Quinns until yesterday, when the family's barrister unexpectedly acceded to the extension.

Richard Woodhouse, the Anglo executive charged with dealing with the Quinns' €2.8bn debt, last night said the bank was "pleased" with the outcome.

A spokesman for the Quinn family said they did not wish to comment on the developments.

The family's decision to accede to the so-called 'interlocutory injunction' came as Anglo pushed for the courts to allow into evidence a fresh affidavit from Mr Woodhouse.

The affidavit alleged the Quinns had taken actions that breached an interim injunction banning the removal of assets from the property company.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke had refused to allow the affidavit on Tuesday, telling Anglo that if the bank believed the Quinns had breached the injunction, it was free to pursue the perpetrator for contempt of court.

Order

The detail of the court order extends the original 'interim injunction' in its entirety, despite the Quinns' request that two key changes be made to the terms. The High Court judge also refused the Quinns' request that the injunction be granted as an "undertaking" rather than as an "order".

Anglo had pushed for an order because it believes this will hold more weight in foreign courts, which are dealing with aspects of the property battle.

The detail of the court order restrains the Quinns from "inducing or procuring or otherwise facilitating any person or corporate entity to breach share pledges" entered into by named companies. Anglo is relying on these pledges for its claim on the international property group.

The Quinns are also banned from "taking any steps directly or indirectly that may have the effect of transferring any of the assets" of 12 named companies "to any third party" and from "exercising or purporting to exercise any rights that attach to any shares pledged" to Anglo.

Earlier in the week, the court was told the Quinns believed they were "entitled" to carry out transfers that Anglo alleged were "unlawful".

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