Tuesday 12 December 2017

High Court to rule next month on whether Sean Quinn acted in contempt of court orders

Sean Quinn
Sean Quinn

Independent.ie reporters

THE High Court is expect to rule next month on whether bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, his son and nephew acted in contempt of court orders restraining them putting assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said she would try and rule on the contempt claims as soon as possible but would not be in a position to deliver judgment this law term, ending on May 24. The next term opens on June 6.



The 15 day hearing of the application by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) for orders for attachment and, if necessary, committal of Mr Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn for alleged contempt concluded yesterday. The judge has said she will first decide whether there was contempt before hearing arguments as to what action should be taken.



In closing arguments for IBRC, Paul Gallagher SC said Mr Quinn and members of his family had engaged in fraudulent conduct and shown "a willingness to pervert the course of justice" and use the Irish and foreign courts for their own purposes.



The Quinns were "determined" to put assets beyond the reach the bank and saw no distinction between assets in various companies and their own, he said. This "wholesale dissipation of assets" was for "the avowed purpose" of ensuring, if the bank won its case aimed at recovering monies from those assets, there would be "nothing" there for it.



The only explanation put up by the Quinns for transfers of valuable assets for nothing, or for nominal sums, to parties apparently unconnected to the family was that the objective was to get the assets away from Anglo Irish Bank and nothing else mattered, he said. That explanation had "no credibility".



All of this was done in a manner designed to go undetected and which would have gone undetected except for a breakthrough in proceedings in Northern Ireland where the "modus operandi" was accidentally and unintentionally disclosed, he said. This was also all done "with no hesitation or regret and repeated defiantly" before the court.



The three respondents have denied they acted in contempt of court orders of June and July 2011 restraining them placing assets in the Quinn IPG beyond the bank's reach. While steps were taken to prevent the bank moving against assets, no steps in furtherance of that were taken after the orders were made, they have argued.



The restraint orders were made in proceedings where the bank sought to prevent assets in the IPG, valued at up to €500m and over which the bank claims it has securities, being put beyond its reach.



The bank claims contempt by Sean Quinn Senior and Peter Quinn via their alleged involvement in the alleged assigment of about US$130m worth of loans to a Belize entity for nominal consideration on or after July 20th 2011 and in back-dating those loans to April 2011.



It is also alleged the two were involved in a fraudulent assignment on or after July 6, 2011, of a €45.2m debt to a Northern Ireland company, Innishmore, controlled by Peter Darragh Quinn, with a view to taking control of a Ukrainian property asset worth about US$78m. A Northern Ireland court recently declared that assignment was invalid, the court heard today.



All three respondents are also alleged to have been involved in late August 2011 in a process leading to a US$500,000 payment being made out of the accounts of Quinn Properties Ukraine to its general director, Ms Janis Puga. That money remains frozen.



In separate proceedings, Mrs Patricia Quinn and her five adult children, who have owned the Quinn companies since 2002, claim they are not liable for loans of some €2.34bn made by Anglo to Quinn companies because those loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank's share price.





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