Monday 18 December 2017

Anglo could put Sean Quinn out of business for years

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor in Belfast

ANGLO Irish Bank's attempt to bankrupt Sean Quinn in the Republic will be heard next Monday and could put Ireland's former richest man out of business for up to 12 years.

The High Court in Dublin directed yesterday that the application by the former Anglo Irish Bank to have the businessman declared a bankrupt should be heard on Monday -- a week earlier then it was due.

The High Court action came hours after the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, successfully overturned a bankruptcy order Mr Quinn obtained in Belfast in November.

The bank had issued a pre-emptive bankruptcy summons against Mr Quinn in the Republic, in the event that it won its Belfast appeal.

That summons is being challenged by Mr Quinn and both cases will be heard by the High Court in Dublin on Monday next.

The bank wants the court to rule on its bankruptcy bid because it has concerns that Mr Quinn might attempt to remove "unencumbered assets" and put them beyond the reach of the bank before the hearing takes place.

The IBRC has already obtained judgments of €2.16bn against Mr Quinn in the Commercial Court in Dublin. Yesterday Mr Quinn yesterday denied that he "deceived" the High Court in Belfast about his business links to the North after his Quinn Group fell under the control of an IBRC-appointed receiver.

The denial came after a judge ruled that a £50 (€60)-a-month office lease had been prepared at a much later date to "try and bolster" the former tycoon's fast- track bankruptcy.

Mr Quinn had earlier argued that the lease proved he was operating from an office block in Fermanagh since May 2011 -- weeks after a share receiver had been appointed to the Quinn Group.

The IBRC has repeatedly denied that its legal challenge to his Northern bankruptcy is vindictive or motivated by a desire to put Mr Quinn out of business for a lengthy period.

The bank told the High Court in Belfast that it was motivated to annul Mr Quinn's bankruptcy to save the Irish taxpayer on legal costs in Northern Ireland.

This is at a time when it is trying to gain control of the estimated €500m property portfolio of the Quinn family in simultaneous legal proceedings in Ireland, Russia, the Ukraine, India and Cyprus. But if the IBRC succeeds in bankrupting Mr Quinn south of the Border, Mr Quinn -- who has vowed to return to business -- will be barred from acting as a company director for up to 12 years.

Mr Quinn, who says he is insolvent, did not reveal who is funding his litigation. As well as his own legal bills, he must now pay the IBRC's.

Earlier yesterday in Belfast Mr Justice Donnell Deeny annulled Mr Quinn's Belfast bankruptcy order.

Mr Justice Deeny rejected Mr Quinn's claims that his main centre of interest was in Northern Ireland.

He also questioned why Mr Quinn, an Irish passport holder who lives and votes in the Republic of Ireland, did not disclose these facts when he applied for bankruptcy in Belfast.

Mr Justice Deeny said that he did not think he could safely conclude that this and other matters were a deliberate attempt to deceive on the part of Mr Quinn. But he found that it was a sufficient ground for him to exercise his discretion to annul the bankruptcy.

Outside the court, Mr Quinn denied he had ever sought to mislead anyone and said he had always worked in Northern Ireland. He claimed that he had never "done a day's work from southern Ireland in my life" nor used his home, which is just south of the border, as an office.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business