Quinn family efforts to remove receiver based on a legal misunderstanding
Published 05/12/2012 | 17:53
MEMBERS of the Quinn family had sought to remove the receiver appointed over their personal assets by the former Anglo Irish Bank on a misunderstanding of the legal position, a High Court judge said today.
Outlining his reasons for the court's dismissal last month of the removal application by family members of the bankrupt businessman, Sean Quinn, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it was clear the Quinns have a deep seated distrust of Anglo, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), of the receivers and the receivers' solicitors.
Various Quinn family members had claimed the receiver appointed over their personal assets by the bank was not independent but biased towards the bank on grounds including several of his staff worked at a senior level for the bank before and since its nationalisation.
The family also wanted the court to discharge receiver, Declan Taite's solicitors, Arthur Cox, alleging that firm was "heavily conflicted" on grounds including its involvement in the restructuring of Quinn companies.
Mr Justice Kelly said the receivers were appointed in aid of orders made by the High Court. The receiver's role is an active rather than a passive one, the judge said and is not merely to preserve such assets as the defendants have chosen to disclose.
"Rather it is to collect in and preserve all of the assets of the defendants in whatever jurisdiction they may be and whether they have chosen disclose them or not," he said.
He added: "The Quinns apprehend that information is going to be furnished by the receivers to the bank. They believe this demonstrates a lack of independence which justifies the receiver's removal.I believe this to be an incorrect view."
The onus, the judge said, was on the Quinns to demonstrate grounds which would justify the removal of the receivers. It is not enough to suggest that the receiver will not be capable of acting independently because of a former relationship with one of the parties to the dispute.
Mr Justice Kelly said he was of the view there was no basis established for removing the receivers because of their firm's involvement with aspects of Quinn Finance. Neither was there any case established by reference to employees who were or are employees of the bank.
"The Quinns seem to believe that the receivers are not obliged to carry out any investigative work. That is not so.In order to secure and preserve assets, they must first locate them. I do not perceive any impropriety on the receivers part in this regard."
In relation to the solicitors firm Arthur Cox, Mr Justice Kelly said merely because the company have in the past acted for clients whose interest may be perceived by the Quinns to be adverse to theirs is not evidence of bias.