THE family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn want to prevent multi-million euro assets in the Quinn group being sold off or moved into NAMA by the end of this year, the Commercial Court heard.
The Quinns claim they are the rightful owners of the assets and the special liquidator of State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, is not entitled to transfer them to NAMA or sell them by December 31 next as required by a direction of the Minister for Finance.
IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace, in strongly opposing the "extraordinary" application, claims the Quinns have established no basis for orders of "astonishing breadth and consequence" which, he says, would significantly prejudice the bank and the public interest.
He also claims the Quinns have no claim to the assets taken over by IBRC and their application is pointless in circumstances where the Quinn companies were insolvent when the bank took them over in April 2011.
The Quinns dispute Mr Wallace's claims that various banks and bondholders would not have agreed to those loans being restructured.
They also contend various actions by IBRC and Mr Wallace have damaged the value of their companies and cost them millions.
The hearing of the injunctions application opened today and is listed for three days. Aoife Quinn, her husband Stephen Kelly and her brother Sean Junior were all in court.
Outlining the application, Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, said they are concerned, should they ultimately win their action alleging they are not liable for some €2.34bn loans allegedly unlawfully made by Anglo to Quinn companies between 2007 and 2008, there will be no money or assets to meet their claim for damages.
This application was prompted by the enactment of the IBRC Act earlier this year providing for the liquidation of IBRC and allowing the State "expropriate a citizen's assets" and sell them with "a clean bill of health" to a purchaser or NAMA, counsel said.
This was all occurring in circumstances where the Quinns are not subject of criminal proceedings arising from the misconduct of Anglo, he added.
In exchanges with counsel, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said it seemed the only assets at issue in the case were shares held by the Quinns in six specific companies.
Mr Hayden said his side had not received information from Mr Wallace as to the precise assets under IBRC's control and this application was intended to "ring-fence" Quinn companies assets pending the outcome of the family's main action. The assets included a hotel in Prague recently sold for €11.5m and the Quinns contended those monies, and proceeds of any other sales, must all be "ring-fenced".
Should the orders be refused, his side would consider a constitutional challenge to the "extremely draconian" provisions of the IBRC Act allowing for the Quinn assets to be sold.
During the hearing, Mr Hayden read from documents concerning interactions between Anglo's then CEO David Drumm and the financial regulator in 2008 related to Anglo's exposure to Sean Quinn Senior after he built up a 28 per cent stake in the bank via financial derivatives called Contracts for Difference (CfDs).
Counsel argued the Quinns are not liable for loans of some €2.34bn issued by Anglo to Quinn companies between 2007 and 2008 because those loans were made for the allegedly unlawful purpose of meeting margin calls on the CfDs with a view to supporting the bank's share price.
In affidavits, Aoife Quinn said the Quinn assets were valued by Anglo at about €5 billion in 2007 and IBRC has no legitimate claim to them.
The Quinn Group has been restructured in such a way as to prevent them recovering the assets should they win their action against IBRC, she added.
The full hearing of the two central sets of proceedings involving the Quinns and IBRC has been deferred pending the completion of the criminal proceedings against former executives of Anglo. Pre-trial applications, including the "ring-fencing" application, are continuing.
The Quinns are also bringing proceedings alleging the Central Bank and Department of Finance were aware of and facilitated the allegedly illegal actions of Anglo. Those intended proceedings are also against various former directors of Anglo, including Mr Drumm.