Tuesday 12 December 2017

Anglo: Quinn family evidence 'incredible... implausible... unbelievable'

Niall McPartland at the Commercial Court today. Photo: Courtpix
Niall McPartland at the Commercial Court today. Photo: Courtpix

EVIDENCE from some members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn's family about their assets and bank accounts was "completely unbelievable", the Commercial Court heard today.

A lawyer for the now dissolved Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) said they must now provide more details about how they spent some €2.5m paid to them from Russian companies.


Some of the family had also given "incredible, not complete, implausible and conflicting" evidence when cross-examined about their accounts and involvement in companies in their international property group (IPG), Shane Murphy SC, for the bank, said.


The Quinns had said they withdrew large sums in Ireland from their Russian bank accounts and used much of those for legal fees but had failed to provide bills or receipts or copies of their employment contracts, he said.  IBRC believed there must be a paper trail concerning those monies but the "shutters had come down" when the Quinns were asked about that.


The bank also believed there must be documents showing a level of control and leadership of IPG companies by Sean Quinn Jnr, his sister Aoife and her husband Stephen Kelly.


Following the five day cross-examination last January, the bank yesterday asked Mr Justice Peter Kelly for further orders requring the Quinns make fuller and/or better disclosure of a range of issues, including what has happened to rent monies from IPG companies.


Opposing that application, Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, insisted they had made disclosure in the precise terms sought by the bank when it secured the disclosure orders last year.


Those orders required them to disclose their accounts and involvement in IPG companies, they had done so, and the bank was now seeking to engage in "trial by ambush".


The bank itself controls the IPG companies via receivers but is engaging in "an entirely artificial and impermissible exercise" aimed at essentially getting discovery and information via further "extremely vague" disclosure orders to assist it in its full action against the Quinns, he argued.


The original disclosure orders were made to assist in policing injunctions aimed at preventing stripping of IPG assets but IBRC had sought during the cross-examination to go into the merits of the Quinns conduct, he said.


The bank now wanted the Quinns to disclose documents being held by their former lawyers Eversheds when the receivers had express power to direct Eversheds to deliver up documents, he said.


Having heard closing arguments concerning whether further orders should be made following cross-examination of the five Quinn children and two of their spouses - Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland, Mr Justice Kelly reserved his ruling to a later date.


In his arguments, Mr Murphy said Sean Quinn Jnr had travelled to Moscow to get statements from Ocean Bank there of accounts held with

it by the Quinn defendants, except Brenda Quinn.   Those statements,

in Russian, had been given to IBRC, plus a summary from the Quinns of their contents indicating some €2.5m was paid to the Quinn account holders. .


It was not sufficient for the Quinns to say €400,000 was spent on "living expenses" and €200,000 on "exceptional" items and the bank would have to get further details, he said.


When Mr Justice Kelly suggested there may be no paper trail because the Russian employment contracts may be a "contrivance" to pay large sums to the Quinns, counsel said any such contrivance, if established, would have to be addressed.


The fact the Quinns were paid salaries ten times those of other employees of those companies suggested some of the Quinns, including Sean Quinn Junior, played a managerial role in those companies, he added.


There was a "confusing picture" as to what had happened to those monies with several of the Quinns saying they were spent on legal fees but apparently having no documents concerning such payments.


IBRC wanted further disclosure of matters including rents paid from IPG companies and what happened to those; payments to two companies associated with the Quinns - Cranre and Neacad; certain deleted emails; and any documents concerning disposals of IPG assets for nominal values.


The Quinns could have been in no doubt they were required to disclose all relevant documents both within their possession and "within their power of procurement" but they failed to do so, he said.

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