Saturday 3 December 2016

Quinn served bankruptcy papers in letterbox after refusing to open door

Dearbhail McDonald and Ray Managh

Published 23/12/2011 | 05:00

BANKRUPT former tycoon Sean Quinn refused to answer the door to the bank he once tried to part own, a court was told yesterday.

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It came as Mr Quinn and the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) engaged in a frenzied, cross-border cat-and-mouse game.

The high-stakes bankruptcy battle moved up a gear when the IBRC sought permission from the High Court in Dublin to serve a bankruptcy petition on Mr Quinn's lawyers instead of Mr Quinn.

They sought this order after accusing Mr Quinn of refusing to personally accept legal papers that could see him bankrupted in the Republic of Ireland if his Northern Ireland bankruptcy fails. Yesterday the IBRC told High Court judge Mr Justice Michael Peart that Mr Quinn refused to accept a bankruptcy summons which they obtained last week in a precautionary bid to bankrupt him immediately in Dublin if the bank succeeds in having his northern Ireland bankruptcy set aside.

The court was told that a summons server on behalf of IBRC had attended Mr Quinn's home in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, on several occasions and had been refused admission at the gated Quinn homestead after ringing the entrance bell.

The summons server had observed movement and lights in and around the Quinn home despite having received no answer to pushing the bell button on the gate.

On one occasion he had seen a man who he believed to be Mr Quinn walking around his car outside the house as if waiting for the summons server to leave. Mr Quinn had later driven out of the gateway without the server having been able to serve the summons on him or gain entrance to his home.

At the same time as the IBRC move in the High Court to serve the petition on Mr Quinn's lawyers, his northern Irish legal team brought a one-sided application in the High Court in Belfast to try to block the IBRC from serving the bankruptcy petition in Dublin.

That injunction application failed.

The IBRC, which is owed more than €2bn by Mr Quinn, told the High Court in Belfast last Tuesday that it would "hold off" taking any further steps in the Dublin bankruptcy process pending the outcome of the Northern Ireland application.

But it has now succeeded in securing permission from the High Court in Dublin to serve the bankruptcy papers by placing them in the letterbox of Mr Quinn's family home at Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, and by serving them upon his Dublin solicitors.

This was done last night and Mr Quinn is now on notice that the IBRC will bankrupt him if it succeeds in overturning his northern Ireland bankruptcy, which he obtained last month.

Last Wednesday, after a two-day challenge in Belfast to Mr Quinn's northern Irish bankruptcy by the IBRC, Mr Quinn's northern Irish lawyers wrote to the IBRC to caution them against serving a bankruptcy petition on him in the Republic pending a ruling on his northern bankruptcy, which is expected early next year.

Less than 24 hours later the IBRC applied to the High Court in Dublin as Mr Quinn's legal team in Belfast made their way to the High Court there.

The powers of inquiry granted to bankruptcy officials are greater in Northern Ireland than the Republic, but bankrupts can be back in business within a year in the north compared to up to 12 years here.

The IBRC told the High Court in Belfast that Mr Quinn's bankruptcy should be set aside because his Centre of Main Interests for the purpose of insolvency proceedings was in Cavan and not in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, where the Quinn Group was headquartered before being placed into receivership last April.

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