Tuesday 21 October 2014

Receiver for family of Sean Quinn queries laptop’s blank hard drive

Published 12/05/2014 | 17:33

Sean Quinn Pic: Courtpix
Sean Quinn

ONE of the joint receivers appointed over the assets of family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn wants to know why a laptop handed over for analysis had a blank hard drive, a court heard.

The receiver wants time to consider an explanation from Stephen Kelly, husband of Mr Quinn's daughter, Aoife Quinn, about why the hard drive of  the laptop, provided by Mr Kelly, came to be blank.

Receiver Declan Taite says this is the second issue he had with Mr Kelly about devices provided by him as previously a memory stick was reported as stolen in late July 2012 from a vehicle of Mr Kelly and his wife. 

Mr Taite said Epsion, a company that analysed the laptop on behalf of the receivers, had concluded in its report earlier this month that a secure wiping tool was used to delete and overwrite all previous data on the hard drive.

In his affidavit, Mr Kelly said he bought the laptop secondhand via a website and it had not worked despite various attempts by him to make it operational and to clean it.

Save for attempts to make the laptop work, neither he nor any other person used it, he said. "In particular, no documents were created on it, received or sent."

Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, for Mr Taite, told Mr Justice Peter Kelly in the Commercial Court his side needed time to consider Mr Kelly's explanation, outlined in an affidavit which had just been received.

Mr Justice Kelly yesterday adjourned for a week Mr Taite's application for various orders relating to the case.

Mr Taite wants the court to compel the Quinns to explain transactions involving the movement of substantial sums between national and international accounts and had also sought an explanation for the blank laptop.

Mr Taite alleges the family were required from February last to provide the explanation for the transactions but have yet to do so.  He was concerned the defendants were delaying and trying to avoid such disclosure, he said.

The receiver wants explanations including why accounts jointly held by another of Mr Quinn's daughters, Ciara Quinn, and some of her children, were used for "an enormous level" of transactions to national and international accounts.

The payments referred to include a €735,000 credit payment, dated May 2011, from the account of a wind farm company to an account held by Ciara Quinn.

Another payment, dated January 2012, was a €320,000 debit transfer to an account in Dubai with the beneficiary named as Market Study Solar Energy. 

Other payments were substantial six figure debit payments made to lawyers while a credit payment of some €320,000 was also made in April 2012 to Ciara Quinn's own account from an account of a company in Dubai.

In relation to the laptop issue, Mr Kelly had provided two laptops and other devices for analysis by the firm Epsion in late 2012 under an agreement reached between the family and the receivers concerning the handover of computers and devices.  The handover was done with a view to ensuring compliance with orders requiring the Quinns disclose full details of their accounts and assets.

Between one laptop and various other devices provided by Mr Kelly, there were some 45,000 documents but the hard drive of the other laptop was blank and overridden by the letter "W."

In his affidavit, Mr Kelly said he bought the laptop in question in late 2010 or early 2011 second hand from a private seller on either the "Donedeal" or "Advests.ie" website and believed he paid €50-60 for it. 

Mr Kelly said he has an interest in computers and had fixed them for friends and family over the years.  The laptop was a HP6730b model, about three years old when he bought it, not operational and with no Operating System installed. 

After unsuccessfully trying twice to install an Operating System, he tried using generic software programmes to "clean" the computer. One of those programmes was "pdwipe", a programme freely available on the internet.

Towards the end of 2013, because his Dell Latitude Laptop D620 was becoming slow and the Operating System, Windows XP, was no longer to be supported by Microsoft, he tried again to make the secondhand laptop (which had then been returned to him by Epsion) fully operational, he said.

Last January, he installed Microsoft Office and Windows 7 and other programmes which were were now fully functional, he said.

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