Saturday 24 March 2018

Anglo probing sale of land to Quinn children

Property at family home sold just weeks before bankruptcy

Sean Quinn
Sean Quinn

Dearbhail McDonald and Donal O'Donovan

ANGLO Irish Bank is to investigate why bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn sold land to his five children just weeks before he filed for bankruptcy in Belfast.

The Irish Independent has learned that the property, which shares the same address as Mr Quinn's family home at Greaghrahan, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, was sold to the Quinn children for €100,000 in early October.

Mr Quinn was declared a bankrupt last Friday, days after Anglo -- now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) -- initiated a staggering €2.8bn debt case against him.

The relatively small purchase price indicates that the land, which is understood to come with planning permission, is not the palatial family home where Mr and Mrs Quinn live.

But the sale, including the size and value of the property, is expected to be queried by the IBRC when it asks the Northern Ireland courts to overturn Mr Quinn's bankruptcy which was secured with no notice to the bank last Friday morning.

As part of his bankruptcy petition in Belfast, Mr Quinn was asked if he had sold, transferred or given away any property in the five years before he presented his petition.

Mr Quinn replied that he had sold the Greaghrahan site to his children -- Brenda, Aoife, Collette, Sean Junior and Ciara -- last month for €100,000 net of any charges and legal fees.

Mr Quinn has consistently indicated that his home is at Greaghrahan, according to the IBRC. Once you have been declared bankrupt in Northern Ireland, all assets belonging to the bankrupt come under the control of a trustee, including the family home which can be sold after 12 months even if it is co-owned by a spouse.

It has also emerged that IBRC/Anglo Irish Bank continued to prop up Sean Quinn's business empire with loans, even after the bank itself had collapsed into state ownership, according to documents filed by the bank.

The IBRC is seeking judgments of €1.050bn; US$808m and Yen 13,818 bn from Mr Quinn.

It is also seeking some €372m for loans given to the former tycoon's companies.


The bank, which has filed details of Mr Quinn's massive borrowings which were used to fund a host of foreign investments -- described as "ventures or adventures" by High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly -- claims the money is owed from unpaid loans and loan guarantees. However, court documents seen by the Irish Independent show that Anglo refinanced the same loans to Mr Quinn and other loans to Quinn-linked companies, even in the months after the State took control of the bank.

Sean Quinn was a central figure in the fall of Anglo Irish Bank after he used loans from the bank to build up the biggest ownership stake held by anyone in the bank, but was forced to sell the shares as the value of the bank collapsed in 2008.

Now it has emerged that loans made to Mr Quinn before the bank collapse were refinanced by the bank in 2009, instead of the bank insisting that the loans be repaid when they fell due.

Loan agreements with Mr Quinn were signed as late as April 2009, the documents show. Anglo Irish Bank was nationalised in January the same year.

Yesterday the chairman of IBRC Alan Dukes admitted that where Mr Quinn goes through bankruptcy proceedings will make little difference to the bank.

"It's difficult to say what if any difference it will make to the eventual recovery. As far as the bank is concerned the total amount of assets being pursued remains the same," he told the Irish Independent yesterday.

IBRC disputes claims by Mr Quinn that his main centre of interests are in Northern Ireland. It only received the bankruptcy petition yesterday morning.

The bank's barrister, former Attorney General Paul Gallagher, told Judge Kelly that the bankruptcy was "obviously planned".

Irish Independent

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