Saturday 21 October 2017

Quinn children asked to hand over passports, wills in hunt for assets

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE children of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn were asked to hand over their passports as part of a bid by the former Anglo Irish Bank to trace the family's worldwide assets.

The Irish Independent has learned they were asked by letter in recent weeks to hand over a series of sensitive documents -- including wills and passports -- as the bank tries to determine the extent of their assets.

However, it is not known if any of the members of the Quinn family handed the documents over.

The revelation comes as the garda search continued yesterday for Peter Darragh Quinn, who failed to appear in court last Friday.

He was jailed by the court -- along with his cousin Sean Quinn Jnr -- for three months for contempt, but his whereabouts remain unknown.

Last month, the High Court ruled that the Quinn children -- Ciara, Aoife, Colette, Brenda and Sean Jnr -- could not reduce their assets below €50m each.

The temporary freezing orders also apply to Mr Quinn's nephew Peter Darragh Quinn and two sons-in-law -- Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland.

The bank has already secured orders appointing receivers over the assets of Peter Darragh Quinn and Sean Quinn Jnr.

And it is expected to ask the courts to appoint receivers over other family members' assets tomorrow morning.

The Irish Independent has also learned that Mr Quinn's children and extended family members have been refused certain living expenses by the IBRC (formerly Anglo), including payment for PR services.

Tomorrow, Mr Quinn's daughters and two of his sons-in-law will be back in court to discover whether the €2,000-a-month in court-sanctioned expenses will remain in place.

The family have been given permission to apply to the courts to vary the freezing orders to meet living expenses.

But it has emerged that the IBRC has refused to sanction payments to the family's PR consultant, James Morrissey, of international communications firm Fleishman-Hillard.

Costs

In a letter to the family on June 25 last, the IBRC said it would not approve public relations costs.

"PR expenditure does not appear necessary and our clients will therefore not consent to an exception to the injunction for that purpose," said the bank.

Mr Quinn's daughter Ciara told the Irish Independent that the family was now handling their own communications.

Political reaction to the ongoing controversy has been muted.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said that he was at a loss as to why Peter Darragh Quinn did not attend the hearing.

"The court has made a decision and I think we should all respect the decision of the court," said Mr Gilmore in Glenties, Donegal, ahead of the Magill summer school.

And last night, junior minister Brian Hayes said that the disputed foreign properties owned by the Quinn group belonged to the Irish people through the State's ownership of the IBRC.

Last week, the bank wrote to Sean Quinn Snr, Sean Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn, offering to lift court injunctions banning them from interfering with their international property portfolio if they agreed to transfer the assets back.

Sean Quinn Snr was not jailed, for now. IBRC claims Mr Quinn Snr is the mastermind of a €500m asset-stripping scheme and is best placed to direct its undoing.

Irish Independent

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