Friday 23 February 2018

Quinn's asset statement is questioned by his receiver

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

SERIOUS questions have been raised about the true state of businessman Sean Quinn's finances by the legal official in charge of his bankruptcy.

Mr Quinn, whose personal wealth was once valued at almost €5bn, successfully filed for bankruptcy in Belfast over a week ago.

Yesterday the Commercial Court in Dublin heard that the official receiver in charge of the former billionaire's bankruptcy viewed a sworn statement of affairs provided by Mr Quinn, outlining his debts and assets, with "considerable scepticism".

The official receiver's concerns were revealed as part of a bid by Anglo Irish Bank, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC), to get a judgment of more than €2bn it says is owed to it by Mr Quinn.

Mr Quinn, who disputes the overall level of debt owed by him to the IBRC, successfully filed for bankruptcy in Belfast and his bankruptcy has now been registered here.

The benefits of a Belfast bankruptcy are significant for Mr Quinn as debtors can emerge free from bankruptcy in Northern Ireland after one year compared to 12 years here.

The IBRC is bringing an application to the Belfast court on Thursday to have the bankruptcy annulled.

In the bankruptcy petition, the Fermanagh-born businessman listed the IBRC as his only creditor in his sworn statement of affairs. However, lawyers representing the official receiver told High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly, the listing judge of the Commercial Court, that there may be others who were owed money by Mr Quinn.


Barrister Bernard Dunleavy, representing the official receiver, said yesterday that "there can hardly have been a bankruptcy ever before" like Mr Quinn's in the UK or Ireland.

Mr Dunleavy said the statement of affairs furnished by Mr Quinn in the bankruptcy application appeared to be unsatisfactory.

Mr Quinn, who is now operating his affairs from an old tyre plant in Co Cavan, has told the Northern Irish authorities that he has just €11,169 in three bank accounts.

He has also listed among his assets an eight-year-old Mercedes worth just £4,000 (€4,670), €40,000 worth of forestry lands owned jointly with his wife Patricia, as well as two pensions valued at just under €200,000.

The IBRC says that it intends to bankrupt him in the Republic if it succeeds in obtaining the unprecedented judgment against its former star client.

Lawyers for the IBRC said the court should go ahead and grant judgment against Mr Quinn as this judgment would not affect the bankruptcy proceedings in Northern Ireland or its own challenge to them.

Mr Justice Kelly will give his decision tomorrow morning.

Irish Independent

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