Saturday 23 September 2017

Quinns' last-minute appeal to stay out of jail as judge due to make custody decision

Sean Quinn: has lodged a Supreme Court appeal
Sean Quinn: has lodged a Supreme Court appeal

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn will find out today if he is going to jail for breaking court orders not to put up to €500m worth of foreign properties beyond the reach of Anglo Irish Bank.

Last night Mr Quinn, his son Sean Quinn Jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn launched an eleventh hour bid to stay out of jail.

Last month High Court judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled that the men were in contempt. She made a series of orders compelling them to help the bank to undo the scheme and recover the assets.

But last night, on the eve of finding out their fate, the men appealed those findings and the extent of the orders.

They lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against the court orders.

However, even the last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court may not be enough to keep them out of prison.

This is because the High Court could still imprison them, if it finds they did not co-operate with the bank to help undo the €500m asset transfer scheme.

And even if the men are jailed, the bank could still be facing a major loss if the assets have been moved beyond the control of the Quinns.

Last month the men's lawyer, Bill Shipsey, argued that committal to prison should be "a last resort".

Mr Shipsey indicated there would be difficulties unwinding some transactions as they involved individuals and companies in Russia and Ukraine.

Today Ms Justice Dunne is expected to be shown a video which the bank claims showed Peter Quinn and Sean Quinn Jnr discussing movement of money at a Ukraine meeting and showed Peter was "prepared to lie" to the High Court.

Richard Woodhouse, senior executive with the bank now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), has said in court papers that the video showed an exchange regarding large sums of money.

Injunction

It was claimed it also showed Peter Quinn stating he was in breach of a court injunction and, when asked if he would lie in his testimony, he laughed and responded: "I'd have to lie . . . that wouldn't overly worry me."

Last month Ms Justice Dunne found the three guilty of contempt of court orders made in June and July 2011 which were designed to stop the stripping of assets.

Ms Justice Dunne stressed she would "not sit idly by" and allow the court's orders to be breached via an "impermissible" asset-stripping conspiracy.

On June 29,she made a number of coercive orders aimed at reversing the asset-stripping measures and indicated she would consider punitive measures if they failed to comply with those orders by today, July 20.

Irish Independent

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