THE Quinn family have accused Fine Gael Minister of State Brian Hayes of "political interference" for claiming on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland that they had been involved in a "systematic attempt" to move assets beyond the reach of the IBRC.
Mr Hayes made the claim during an interview on the programme last Friday morning, prompting an angry response from the Quinns who have been involved in a lengthy court battle with the IBRC in which they are disputing the validity of some €2.3bn of the €2.8bn the bank insists they owe.
Speaking from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, Mr Hayes revealed that he raised the issue of the IBRC's efforts to assert its legal position over the Quinn assets in the courts there with Ukraine's finance minister, Yuriy Koloboy, during a meeting to sign a taxation agreement between the two countries.
Mr Hayes told RTE radio: "There has been an absolutely systematic attempt to hide these assets from their rightful owners.
"We made it clear when the liquidation of IBRC went through the Dail that there are still assets within the IBRC and it was a firm intent of the Government to secure those assets. And that's why it's important in the case of Russia and Ukraine that we do what we can to make sure that we get these assets back."
Asked by the Sunday Independent for their reaction to the minister's comments, the Quinn family said that it was "wholly inappropriate" for Mr Hayes to pass any remark on the matter while it was before the courts.
In a statement on behalf of the family, Aoife Quinn's husband Stephen Kelly said: "Mr Hayes's misguided belief that these assets belong to IBRC is very concerning in that he completely fails to recognise the function of the Irish courts in this commercial dispute.
"Mr Hayes is more than aware that the security IBRC purports to have over these assets is been actively challenged by the Quinn family before the Commercial Court on the grounds that same breaches both Irish and EU Law.
"Indeed, the Department of Finance is on full notice from its own legal advisers Arthur Cox as of January 2009 that the security the bank purports to have in place for these loans has been advanced to meet margin calls.
"Any political interference in this commercial dispute is therefore wholly inappropriate until the Irish courts fully determine the matter".