Wednesday 13 December 2017

Court papers claim Quinns set up €250m Russian payoff

Dearbhail McDonald and Tim Healy

THE family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn stood to receive more than €250m in severance fees from Russian companies within their international property group (IPG), according to new papers filed at the Supreme Court.

The claims, by the former Anglo Irish Bank, will be revealed today during jailed businessman Sean Quinn Jnr's challenge to his three-month jail term for contempt of court.

The IBRC, formerly Anglo, will also claim new evidence gleaned from a damaged computer in Russia shows that Sean Quinn Jnr's wife, Karen Woods, was to receive payments of more than €36m -- and an annual salary of about €560,000 -- if her employment with the family's Russian companies was terminated.

Ms Woods, a former car sales executive who attended the Supreme Court yesterday, was engaged to be married when the contracts were drawn up.

It is understood that the monies were not received by members of the Quinn family or Ms Woods, despite the terms and conditions in the contracts, which stipulated:

• €36m termination payments for each of Mr Quinn's daughters, Aoife, Ciara and Colette Quinn;

• €26m termination payments and an annual salary of €221,947 for Peter Darragh Quinn, nephew of Sean Quinn Snr and former head of the IPG;

• €15m termination payments for Sean Quinn Jnr;

• €36m and an annual salary of about €560,000 for Karen Woods if her employment was terminated.

Niall McPartland, the solicitor husband of Ciara Quinn, had contracts for similar sums to that enjoyed by Ms Woods, the IBRC has claimed.

The contracts were signed weeks before the High Court issued orders, on June 27, 2011, banning any interference by the Quinns with their €500m international property group.

The IBRC says the new material shows Sean Quinn Jnr was aware of the "deliberate backdating" to June 15, 2011, of employment contracts generated on July 27, 2011 -- in favour of members of the Quinn family -- so it would appear they were created before the order of June 27, 2011.

Neither the Quinns nor the bank would comment on the fresh revelations last night.

Lawyers for Sean Quinn Jnr are not objecting to the admission of the new material.

However, the state-owned bank says this and other new evidence shows Sean Quinn Jnr was a "key decision maker" in relation to the control of Russian and other international companies at the centre of alleged asset-stripping.

The bank will argue today that had this material been before the High Court earlier -- in the hearing to determine whether Sean Quinn Snr, his son and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn breached court orders restraining stripping of assets from IPG -- it would have had an important influence on the court.

The bank wants the Supreme Court to consider, in the appeal by Sean Quinn Jnr, the new material, as well as a video recording of a meeting in Kiev on July 21, 2012, which, the bank claims, showed Sean Quinn Jnr was involved in an asset-stripping scheme in the Ukraine

Significant

In a court statement, Richard Woodhouse, IBRC's head of specialised asset management, said "significant" new documents had been obtained by the bankruptcy administrator appointed in late July to Finansstroy, a key Russian company in the Quinn's IPG.

The documents were recovered on a damaged computer hard drive owned by the company. It was clear many documents were removed immediately before the administrator took possession of the building, the bank said.

The administrator arranged for a search of the computer hard drive and this identified significant materials, including that Sean Quinn Jnr was directing, or was aware of the extraction of funds from IPG, in breach of the court order, Mr Woodhouse said.

An email of July 25, 2011, copied to Sean Quinn Jnr by his brother-in-law Stephen Kelly had requested that Russian employment contract documents for members of the Quinn family be backdated, he said.

Irish Independent

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