I'm a simple farmer's son, says Quinn in court debut
BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn claimed he was "a simple farmer's son" when he appeared before the Commercial Court for the first time yesterday in relation to €2.34bn loans made to Quinn companies.
Mr Quinn told Mr Justice Peter Kelly that because he was the son of a farmer he didn't need much time to argue his entitlement to be represented in his family's case against Anglo Irish Bank aimed at avoiding liability for the loans. He could be ready within a week to 10 days, he said.
The bank's solicitor argued that Mr Quinn could not defend himself in the wake of his bankruptcy.
Mr Quinn said: "I don't know, judge. The way I see it, Anglo joined me, I filed a defence and I want to stand over it."
His unexpected appearance came as the judge was preparing to deal with the bank's application for an order that would bind Mr Quinn to any judgment made in that action.
The bank has joined Mr Quinn and two former Quinn Group executives as third parties to the action against it by Patricia Quinn and her five children.
The Quinns claim they should not have any liability for the €2.34bn Anglo loans. They argue that the loans were made for the unlawful purpose of propping up the bank's share price.
The bank denies these claims and joined Mr Quinn, plus former Quinn Group executives Dara O'Reilly and Liam McCaffrey, as third parties. This would potentially allow the bank to claim indemnity against them.
Mr Quinn yesterday told the judge that Anglo had joined him to the case but now "doesn't want me".
He was "obviously a major part" of the Anglo-Quinn situation over the past 10 years "and I would have thought it was useful for the court to hear my views".
The proceedings were before the Commercial Court yesterday after an application by Anglo for directions on how the matter should proceed against the third parties.
Mr Quinn was declared bankrupt on January 16 and the bankruptcy officer decided not to defend the case on behalf of Mr Quinn.
Yesterday, Brian Murray, for the bank, said it had last Thursday received a letter from Mr Quinn. The judge said he also received a letter which was copied to the solicitors representing the various parties.
Mr Quinn said he would do his best to defend the claims against him and wished the relevant documents to be sent to him.
Mr Murray said he would be contending that Mr Quinn could not defend the action on his own behalf when the bankruptcy officer had decided not to participate.
The judge said an interesting legal issue arose as to whether Mr Quinn could do so. The bank, he noted, had said there was no legal authority on that issue here.
The situation in England was that Mr Quinn would not be permitted to represent himself in court.
The judge fixed Mr Quinn's application for hearing on March 15 and directed that the relevant legal documents be served at his address in Co Cavan.
When Mr Quinn said he was "not big into emails", the judge directed the documents could be served by ordinary post.
When the judge asked Mr Quinn how long he required to prepare for the hearing on his entitlement to defend, Mr Quinn said he would not need a great deal of time, adding: "I'm a simple farmer's son."
The judge responded: "I'm a simple man myself."