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Quinns claim locals 'exploiting' row to get control of $60m firm

LOCALS are "exploiting" the legal battles between Anglo Irish Bank and the Quinn family to seize control of a $60m (€46.4m) property company in Kiev, Sean Quinn's son has claimed.

The claim came as the Quinns defended changes to the €500m property empire's structure that Anglo has described as a "orchestrated attack" to "strip assets" from the group and put them beyond Anglo's reach.

The most recent drama centres on a Kiev shopping centre, which is owned by a company that Anglo has seized control of. A British Virgin Islands company recently registered a $45.2m (€35m) charge against the Anglo-owned company.

Sean Quinn this week insisted the company that had registered the charge was "not us".

His son, Sean Quinn Jnr, predicted that neither Anglo nor the family would extract any value from the Ukranian asset because locals were "exploiting" the row.

"We approached Anglo in October/November to tell them there was a problem in the Ukraine, they didn't want to know," Mr Quinn Jnr added. A spokesman for Anglo declined to comment.

Speaking to the Irish Independent this week, the Quinns also defended changes that saw sizable loans due to some of the Anglo-created property companies transferred to companies outside the bank's reach.

Mr Quinn Jnr said that this merely changes re-assigned inter-company loans that the Quinns had granted to the companies Anglo took over. This was carried out before Anglo took over the property empire on April 14, the Quinns say. The transfers will have no effect if Anglo is successful in enforcing the mortgages it holds over the properties themselves, since the properties are worth less than the mortgages and there would be no cash left to pay off the other loans.

But if the Quinns successfully challenge the mortgages, then the reassigned loans could become valuable.

The Quinns also claimed that Anglo loans to their empire were used exclusively for investment in the bank's own shares and not for property purchases.

They have claimed in legal proceedings that a total of €2.34bn of share loans is invalid because they were granted for the illegal purpose of artificially preventing the bank's own share price from crashing.

The Quinns produced documents showing the loans for the Kiev company were granted by Anglo on December 17, 2007 -- a year after the building was purchased using "Quinn family resources".

Separate documents show $242m (€187m) of loans for Russian property assets were granted on November 2007 and December 2007, even though the Quinns invested just £90m (€108m) in the properties and had paid it all out by early 2007.

Irish Independent