Wife 'never knew' she had €3m personal bank loan
Published 15/11/2011 | 05:00
THE wife of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has claimed that she "never knew" she had a €3m personal loan from Anglo Irish Bank and had never met a member of staff from the now state-owned lender.
Patricia Quinn, who is being sued by Anglo, has claimed that she is a housewife and "has always been a housewife" despite serving as a director of numerous companies within the Quinn Group formerly led by her husband.
Mr Quinn was declared bankrupt by the High Court in Belfast last Friday.
His wife has been given two weeks by the Commercial Court in Dublin to file a defence in which she will seek to escape her liability from the joint and several personal loans obtained by the couple in December 2006.
Mrs Quinn will attempt to escape repayment of the €3m loan on the grounds that she signed the document by mistake, without knowledge of its meaning.
If it succeeds, she will not have to repay the loan.
The three-year loan, accepted by Mr and Mrs Quinn on December 14, 2006, was classified by Anglo -- now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (IBRC) -- as a personal loan and the couple provided an assignment of a life policy on them both as security for the loan.
However, lawyers for Mrs Quinn told High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday that she derived no benefit from the loan, the proceeds of which, it is claimed, were directed to a Quinn Group company called Quinn Manufacturing Limited.
The facility letter for the loan, which was negotiated away from the business premises of the bank, stipulated that the loan documents had to be signed in the presence of a representative of the bank.
But Mrs Quinn, who opposed transfer of the debt case to the fast-track Commercial Court, says that she never stepped foot inside of Anglo and never met a bank representative about the loan.
"Mrs Quinn is a housewife and has always been a housewife," said her lawyer Bill Shipsey SC, who added that Mrs Quinn will say that she did not understand or know that the proceeds of the loan were given to a Quinn company.
The portrayal of Mrs Quinn as an ordinary housewife was challenged by the IBRC, who described the mother of five as a "business lady" who has "demonstrated her sophistication as a company director in business matters".
The IBRC, which has claimed in court filings that the €3m loan was borrowed for commercial purposes, said that Mrs Quinn was a director of companies in the Quinn Group.
"To say she has not been involved in those companies is to say that she has not discharged her duties as a director," said Paul Gallagher SC, representing the IBRC.
The application for summary judgment against Mrs Quinn will be heard on December 15 next.
Earlier this year, Mrs Quinn and her children, Aoife, Colette, Brenda, Ciara and Sean Quinn jnr, brought proceedings against Anglo claiming that loans of €2.34bn were unenforceable because they were issued for "an illegal objective of market manipulation" to support the bank's share price.