THE family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has brought a new court action in an attempt to stop assets within the Quinn Group being sold off or moved into NAMA.
They are attempting to 'ring fence' multimillion-euro assets within the group and prevent their sale or movement before the end of this year.
The Quinns claim in the Commercial Court that they are the rightful owners of the assets and that 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, as required by a direction of the Finance Minister.
However, IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace is opposing the application. He claims that 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 that their application is pointless in circumstances where the Quinn companies were insolvent when the bank took them over in 2011.
The hearing of the injunctions application opened yesterday 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 were concerned that if they ultimately win their action claiming that they are not liable for some €2.34bn of loans allegedly made unlawfully by Anglo to Quinn companies 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.
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.
Should the orders be refused, his side would consider a constitutional challenge to the IBRC Act.
The Quinns are also bringing proceedings alleging that 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.