Sunday 17 December 2017

Anglo counsel asks court to throw out 'incredible' evidence of Quinns

Tim Healy

THE evidence of businessman Sean Quinn, his son and nephew, who deny breaching contempt-of-court orders, is "fantastic" and "incredible" and should be rejected, lawyers for Anglo Irish Bank told the High Court yesterday.

However, lawyers for the Quinns submitted that the court was being asked to jail the three on material falling well below the standard of proof (beyond reasonable doubt) for contempt.

They also denied that Sean Quinn Snr, as "patriarch, master and commander" of the family, authorised and directed an "elaborate, deliberate and systemic" plan to frustrate claims by the bank to the family's assets.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne indicated yesterday that she would first decide whether Sean Quinn Snr and Sean Quinn Jnr, along with Peter Darragh Quinn, were in contempt of court orders restraining them from putting valuable property assets beyond the reach of Anglo. She will then hear arguments on the nature of what orders should be made if contempt is found against them.

The judge said she did not disagree with submissions made to her that the usual purpose of contempt proceedings was to remedy any wrongs done, adding: "Once the cat is out of the bag, it is hard to put it back in."

The hearing of the application by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) -- formerly Anglo -- for orders for attachment and, if necessary, committal of the three, is expected to conclude later today, with judgment reserved.

All three are excused from attending court today because of the wedding of Sean Quinn junior.

The three men have denied contempt of court orders of June and July 2011, restraining any steps to place assets in the Quinn international property group (IPG) beyond the bank's reach. They say that such steps were taken prior to the orders but not afterwards.

Contempt

The High Court made the restraint orders in proceedings in which the bank claims that the family was trying to put properties in the IPG, which is said to have assets valued at up to €500m, beyond its reach.

In separate proceedings, the family claim that they are not liable for loans of some €2.34bn made by Anglo to Quinn companies because those loans had been made unlawfully to prop up the bank's share price.

Yesterday, in closing submissions for IBRC, barrister Shane Murphy argued that the bank had proven contempt beyond reasonable doubt.

The evidence, he said, showed that a plan was authorised by Sean Quinn Snr to put assets beyond the reach of the bank; that the plan was developed by his nephew Peter from about autumn 2010 on foot of legal advice in various jurisdictions; and that Sean Quinn Jnr was aware of the plan, he said.

Bill Shipsey, a barrister for the Quinns, said the bank had complained about the Quinns "drip-feeding" information to it and not assisting its efforts to recover when there was no obligation on the Quinns to assist it.

Civil contempt is decided on a criminal standard of proof and the relief claimed by the bank was not open to the court, counsel argued.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business