Business Irish

Saturday 16 February 2019

IBRC wants 'urgent' hearing of Quinn Supreme Court appeal

Tim Healy

IRISH Bank Resolution Corporation has asked for an urgent hearing of its Supreme Court appeal aimed at preventing the Quinn family litigate their claims the former Anglo Irish Bank illegally advanced €2.4bn loans during 2008 to Quinn companies to prop up its plummeting share price.

Counsel for the Quinns said today it is "amazing" that State-owned BRC, successor in title to Anglo, is contending no such unlawful loans were advanced when another arm of the State has brought criminal proceedings against former Anglo executives alleging they were.

Martin Hayden SC said IBRC's appeal was not urgent and, unlike the bank,  his clients were not resourced by the State and had just one senior and junior counsel dealing with more urgent matters,  including the Quinns application to join the Central Bank and Department of Finance as co-defendants with IBRC on grounds alleging they were well aware of the  llegedly unlawful Anglo loans.

An email from then Anglo CEO David Drumm entitled "regulator squared" is among documents relied on by the Quinns to support those claims.

Emails between Mr Drumm and Declan Quilligan of Anglo on July 9th 2008 began with one from Mr Drumm with "regulator squared" in the subject field but no text in the body to which Mr Quilligan replied: "Excellent! I hope he was grateful!".  Mr Drumm replied: "Excited I would say - I think he is lying awake at night like the rest of us."

In seeking priority today for its appeal against the High Court's finding the Quinns were entitled to litigate claims the €2.4bn loans breached Section 60 of the Companies Act (outlawing loans to prop up an institution's share price) and Market Abuse Regulations, Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC, said its appeal was "of very singular urgency" because it related to liability for loans of €2.4bn and to the Quinn's denial of liabilty for those.

If the Supreme Court overturns the High Court's decision, that would greatly reduce the expected six to eight month duration of the family's case as the claims of market abuse and illegality would not have to be addressed, he said.  IBRC was also still trying to recover dissipated assets, he added.

When Mr Gallagher said the loans at issue in the family's case are not the same loans subject of the criminal prosecutions, Mr Hayden said that was incorrect.

Mr Hayden handed in a timeline to the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, outlining the various proceedings involving the Quinns which will have them in court on several dates later this month, next month, August and October.  His side were trying to prepare for those with very limited resources when the bank had three senior counsel, three juniors and solicitors and there was no urgency as the criminal proceedings against the former Anglo executives were not for hearing until January 2014.

The Chief Justice said she would give the Quinns to October 31st to file their submissions opposing the appeal and would decide, after reading the submissions, whether it merited a priority hearing date.

Next month, the Commercial Court will deal with the Quinns application to join the Central Bank and Department of Finance as co-defendants with IBRC to the case. That application is opposed by Kieran Wallace, one of the IBRC special liquidators, on grounds including it comes too late and raises a different cause of action.

In her affidavit grounding that joinder application, Aoife Quinn says emails and other documents discovered by IBRC, plus various reports and Dail debates, show the then regulator Patrick Neary and Department of Finance knew Anglo was advancing unlawful loans to Quinn companies during 2008 in an effort to to unwind Quinn Contract for Difference positions in Anglo shares.

The Quinns claim the Department was actively involved in Anglo's affairs throughout 2008 and its conduct in January 2009 was effectively attempting to cover up its knowledge and involvement in matters from September 2007.

Not only did the regulator and Minister for Finance know of the transactions complained of by the Quinns but they facilitated them and are therefore liable for damages, the family claim.

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