Business Irish

Saturday 18 January 2020

Contempt case is 'abuse of process', Quinn hearing told

Tim Healy

THE bringing of contempt proceedings against bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn and members of his family is an "abuse of process", the High Court heard yesterday.

It is an attempt by former Anglo Irish Bank to destroy the Quinns' credibility in advance of the family's own action against it, the family have also claimed.

Mr Quinn, his son Sean Jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn deny that they are in contempt of court orders made in June and July 2011 to prevent the dissipation of assets pending the outcome of proceedings by the bank related to the Quinns' international property group, which had acquired assets across Europe, India, Russia and Ukraine.

In proceedings against Quinn Investments Sweden and others, including Mr Quinn and several members of his family, the bank claims the Quinns were trying to put properties with a value of up to €500m beyond its reach.

Anglo, since renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), claims it has legitimate charges over those properties, owned via a web of companies, but the family dispute this.

Yesterday was the second day of the hearing before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne of the application by IBRC for orders for attachment and committal of the three Quinns for alleged contempt of the June order.

Continuing his opening of the case, Paul Gallagher, with Shane Murphy, for IBRC, addressed claims by Anglo that the three were involved in a strategy to strip the Quinn companies of assets to place them beyond the reach of IBRC.

IBRC contends Sean Quinn Snr and Peter Darragh Quinn were the "prime movers" in that strategy which, it alleges, involved contrived arbitration awards, self-bankruptcies, disposal of valuable assets at an undervalue and various over-payments to various parties, including an alleged $1.1m (€830,000) payment to lawyers in Ukraine.

'Extraordinary'

Mr Gallagher said IBRC was concerned substantial payments appeared to have been made to parties without obvious justification and also about "extraordinary circumstances" behind certain debts.

The bank also claims Aoife Quinn had no capacity to withdraw a valuable shareholding of a Cyprus company, Carcer Management Ltd, on June 20, 2011.

Solicitors for the Quinns said there was no breach of the court order and insisted the bank was seeking to retrospectively apply that order.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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