Business Irish

Saturday 16 December 2017

Court hears Sean Quinn son-in-law did not stand to make personal gain from payment of over €6m made to him

Tim Healy

A SON-in-law of businessman Sean Quinn did not stand to make any personal gain from payments of more than €6m made by Quinn Finance to him in 2008 related to investments in shares in Anglo Irish Bank, the Commercial Court heard.

Niall McPartland, who is a solicitor, Castleknock Road, Castleknock, Dublin, is being sued by Quinn Finance, which was removed by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) from the control of the Quinn family in April 2011.

The case arises from payments made over several months in 2008 by Quinn Finance (under its former management) to Mr McPartland's account with NCB Stockbrokers Ltd.

The payments were to meet margin calls on contracts for difference (CFDs) investments in shares in Anglo Irish Bank and it is claimed there is no record of the payments being authorised by Quinn Finance.

Robert Dix, the new chairman of Quinn Finance, said it wanted to recover €6.1m from Mr McPartland representing transfers from Quinn Finance "under its prior management" to him for margin calls due by Mr McPartland "in the context of his private wealth management arrangements", including his agreement for a CFD account.

Rossa Fanning, for Mr McPartland, said today his client had "nothing to do" with those payments by Quinn Finance and had rather made a serious error and acted "unwisely" in letting that company use his name while engaging in company trading.

His client, counsel added, did not stand to make any personal gain from that trading and rather held monies on trust for the benefit of Quinn Finance.

He sought time to put his client's position on affidavit.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly asked why Mr McPartland had not outlined those matters when Quinn Finance wrote to him last January asking about the payments.

That letter, the court heard, followed a review of the Quinn Finance accounts undertaken after IBRC took over various Quinn companies in April 2011.

Mr Fanning said Mr McPartland was fully engaged in the other legal proceedings brought by the Quinn family against IBRC (where they are challenging the takeover of their companies and arguing they are not liable for loans of some €2.3bn made by Anglo to Quinn companies on grounds those were made for the illegal objective of propping up the bank's share price).

Earlier, Una Tighe, for Quinn Finance, on consent of Mr Fanning, applied for the case to be fast-tracked by the Commercial Court.

Ms Tighe said the case arose from payments made by Quinn Finance on behalf of Mr McPartland to NCB to discharge margin calls on contract for difference (CFDs) investments in Anglo shares in 2008.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to admit the case to the Commercial Court and listed it for hearing on June 19.

Quinn Finance was the funding vehicle for the Quinn international property group established by Sean Quinn to develop a large international property portfolio for the benefit of his five adult children.

In an affidavit, Robert Dix said a review of Quinn Finance documents carried out since new directors were appointed suggested those documents were incomplete.

The review showed transfers of more than €11m had been made from Quinn Finance to NCB between June to December 2008, he said.

A NCB Wealth Management Application form signed by Mr McPartland on April 22nd 2008 stated the sources of his wealth as inheritance, sale of property and other family inheritance, Mr Dix said.

Attached to that form was a mandate from Mr McPartland authorising NCB to open an account with IG Markets Ltd to trade CFDs as agent on behalf of Mr McPartland.

Analysis of documents showed some €6.1m was transferred from Quinn Finance to NCB for the benefit of Mr McPartland between June and October 2008, Mr Dix said.

He had written to NCB on August 30th 2011 asking for information about these transfers.

On October 4, 2011, NCB replied stating, acting on instructions, it had credited each of the transfers to the account of Mr McPartland, Mr Dix said.

Quinn International Property Managment Ltd sought further information from NCB. In early December 2011, NCB had said that, each time there was a margin payment due on Mr McPartland's account, Ian Quigley of NCB contacted Mark McNamara of Quinn Finance, or Paul McKenna if Mr McNamara was absent, to inform him of the funds required which were then transferred to NCB.

NCB had said it was not aware who within Quinn Finance authorised the payments and it had not received written instructions from Quinn Finance concerning the margin payments.

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