Sunday 11 December 2016

Quinn still got director's pay months after quitting group

Laura Noonan and Dearbhail McDonald in Belfast

Published 20/12/2011 | 05:00

Businessman Sean Quinn
arriving at Belfast's
Commercial Court
yesterday
Businessman Sean Quinn arriving at Belfast's Commercial Court yesterday

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn paid his family's household bills directly through the Quinn Group, a court was told yesterday.

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Over a day-long court hearing, it also emerged that Mr Quinn was paid a salary for several months after he ceased to be a director.

It was also claimed that Mr Quinn was working from an office in the North that was "secret" and that he parked his car behind the building so it would not be seen.

The unusual claims came as Anglo, now named Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), battled to have Mr Quinn's Northern Ireland bankruptcy undone. The bank said it wants proceedings moved to Dublin because it will cost less.

And it argued that paying bills through the Quinn Group's headquarters in the North did not change the fact that Mr Quinn lived in Cavan and that his centre of residence was the Republic of Ireland.

The bank also insisted it was not motivated by a wish to ensure Mr Quinn serves 12 years as a bankrupt in the Republic as opposed to just one year in the North.

IBRC said that Mr Quinn was "exiled" from the Quinn Group by April this year.

Gabriel Moss, the UK insolvency expert representing IBRC, said Mr Quinn was "a lucky man" to have been paid as a director even when he was not performing any duties.

Mr Quinn attended the court hearing at Belfast's Commercial Court with his son-in-law Niall McPartland. He did not give evidence but will attend again today -- when he may be called to the stand.

Mr Quinn said he conducts his affairs from an office in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh. But IBRC yesterday argued that Mr Quinn could not claim his "centre of main interest" was in the North because his Northern office did not meet the test of being "ascertainable" or publicly known to his creditors.

Misleading

IBRC's representative also claimed it had been "misleading" for Mr Quinn to tell the court only that he pays tax in the North, when he also pays tax south of the border.

The bank said that this meant the fact that the Quinn Group was based in the North was "irrelevant" to Mr Quinn's bankruptcy petition. It said he had ceased working for the group six months before he began bankruptcy proceedings.

The bank also repeatedly questioned any suggestion that Mr Quinn could be carrying on business from his new office in Derrylin. It pointed out that he had declared himself as "unemployed" rather than "self-employed" in his own bankruptcy petition.

Mr Moss also expressed incredulity that someone with unpaid debts of €2bn could expect to borrow money in the future for new businesses.

He said that the bank does not intend to cross-examine Mr Quinn, but drew attention to a number of alleged inconsistencies in Mr Quinn's sworn statement of affairs about his assets and business activities.

The bank claimed he did not reveal that 166 acres of forestry lands at Cavan that he and his wife Patricia bought in 1990 are in fact held on trust for their daughters.

It also claimed that the entrepreneur either repeatedly failed to disclose a lease he holds for his current office, or does not in fact have a lease on the Derrylin property.

IBRC has raised serious questions about the lease for the office, questioning whether the document was "genuine".

Mr Quinn is relying on the Derrylin office as part of his case to keep his bankruptcy in Belfast.

Irish Independent

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