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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Son's lawyers insist he should not be in prison

Tim Healy

THE former Anglo Irish Bank has failed to tell the Supreme Court exactly what Sean Quinn Jnr is being held in prison for, his lawyers claim.

Anglo, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), has conceded there was "no direct evidence" to support a finding of contempt against him, Mr Quinn's lawyer Bill Shipsey also argued.

While just one finding of contempt was made against Mr Quinn, he was jailed for not reversing an entire asset-stripping scheme, Mr Shipsey said.

Paul Gallagher, counsel for the bank, contended "a chain of events" and 30 pieces of circumstantial evidence supported the High Court's finding that Mr Quinn participated in a $500,000 (€387,692) payment, on foot of which he was found in contempt.

The High Court was also entitled to jail him on July 20 after finding he had not complied with 30 coercive orders to reverse asset-stripping measures on grounds including that he was part of the Quinns' general asset stripping conspiracy, counsel said.

This was an "exceptional" case unlikely to be replicated and the courts must uphold constitutional values, especially the administration of justice, Mr Gallagher urged.

The five-judge Supreme Court yesterday reserved to an unspecified date its judgment on Mr Quinn's appeal against being jailed following its finding of contempt and that he had not complied with 30 coercive orders to unwind measures to strip up to $430m (€333m) assets from the Quinn family's international property group.

Last June, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled he was in contempt of court orders of June and July 2011 restraining stripping of assets on the basis of his participation in a $500,000 (€388,000) payment to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine (QPU), on the eve of that company's takeover by the bank in August 2011.

The judge later made 30 coercive orders aimed at unwinding asset-stripping measures and, after finding Mr Quinn, his father and cousin Peter failed to comply with those, jailed Mr Quinn and Peter Quinn but did not jail Sean Quinn Snr so he could take steps to achieve compliance.

The matter is due for review on October 19.

Peter Quinn did not attend court on July 20 and a warrant for his arrest remains unexecuted while he continues to live in Northern Ireland.

Assets

All three Quinns said they could not reverse the asset stripping because matters had passed out of their control to Russian lawyers and others.

Mr Shipsey said no direct evidence linked Mr Quinn to the Puga payment and no rationale had been offered why the Quinns would participate in such a payment to strip assets from QPU when it was only 15pc owned by the Quinns, with the rest owned by their friends and neighbours.

QPU was "very different" from Univermag (a Quinn company which owned a valuable shopping centre in Kiev) and it could not be said the payment fitted in with the general asset-stripping scheme, he said.

A secret video recording of a meeting in Kiev in January 2012 attended by Sean Quinn Jnr and Peter Quinn, Ms Puga and others, showed a fraught encounter between the Quinns and Ms Puga, counsel said.

Peter Quinn, he noted, had suggested to the High Court the payment was done by Ms Puga herself as it was for her benefit.

Mr Quinn, who attended all four days of the appeal, returned to Mountjoy Prison after the hearing ended.

Irish Independent

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