Business Irish

Saturday 17 March 2018

Sean Quinn to be subpoenaed in former Anglo exec Thomas Browne’s case

Tim Healy

FORMER Anglo Irish Bank head of lending Thomas Browne intends to sub poena bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn Snr and two former senior executives in the Quinn Group in defending the bank's claim for €50m judgment orders against him, the Commercial Court heard today.

Mr Browne will also sub poena former Anglo Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and other former or serving directors, non-executive directors and officials of the bank, including Patrick Whelan, Declan Quilligan, Michael O'Sullivan, Lar Bradhsaw, Elma Kinnane, Michael Jacob, Anne Hearty, Garry McCann, Natasha Mercer and Willie McAteer.

While Mr Browne had intended to sub poena former Anglo CEO David Drumm, he has now decided not to, Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told by Micheal P. O'Higgins SC, for Mr Browne. They had been unable to make contact with Mr Drumm who was "not amenable to sub poena".

The judge, who had asked Mr Browne's side to outline the nature of the evidence they intended to be covered by the witnesses they proposed to sub poena, was given that outline today.

Lawyers for Mr Browne said they intended to call Sean Quinn Snr and former Quinn Group executive Liam McCaffrey to give evidence in relation to a meeting of September 11th 2007 where Mr Quinn told Anglo about his Contract for Difference (CfD) positions within the bank and what happened subsequently. They would also be asked to give evidence about loans given to Sean Quinn, his family and the Quinn Group and the information provided to the bank when seeking such loans.

Another senior Quinn Group executive, Dara O'Reilly, would be asked about his communications with Anglo in September 2007 and thereafter in relation to requests made on behalf of the Quinn family for funding to meet margin calls on the CfDs.

Various other Anglo officials would be asked to give evidence about dealings with the Quinn famly, including meetings at which the Quinn family shareholding in Anglo was discussed.

Mr McAteer and Mr Fitzpatrick would be asked to give evidence of their knowledge of the Quinn family shareholding within Anglo, evidence of loans by the bank to support that shareholding and the extent of the Anglo Board's knowledge of those matters.

An expert on banking, Mr John Phillips, had agreed to provide a witness statement which would illustrate Allied Irish Bank's reliance on Mr Browne's shares in Anglo as security for his borrowings with AIB, solicitors for Mr Browne stated.

Mr Browne's solicitors also indicated they wished to sub poena Irish Times journalist Simon Carswell, author of Anglo Republic, as his book contained "copious references to information contained within the confidential records of the bank".

While Mr Carswell had evinced unwillingness to reveal his sources of information within Anglo, it was intended to subpoena him to attend trial for the purpose of identifying evidence from witnesses which was contradictory of information or records which the bank or its officers had revealed to the journalist, Mr Browne's solicitors stated.

Mr Justice Kelly said it was clear Mr Carswell's information was inadmissible hearsay as it represented what he was told by others. Mr Carswell had made clear he would invoke journalistic privilege and decline to reveal his sources so there was no point in calling him, the judge observed.

The judge has adjourned to September further pre-trial management issues arising from the action by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) against Mr Browne which is listed for hearing on October 16th.

Mr Browne, Ferney Hill, Brighton Road Foxrock, Dublin, head of lending at Anglo between 2005 and 2007, claims he has no liability for some €50m loans on grounds including, when the loans were made, the bank was allegedly aware the interest acquired by Sean Quinn in the bank was such as to undermine its stability and to render his shareholding valueless.

Had he known of such matters, he would never have exercised his share options in late November 2007 or held on to shares which became "worthless", he claims.

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