Tuesday 12 December 2017

Aoife Quinn was 'in full control' of Russian firms, claims IBRC

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

A DAUGHTER of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has been portrayed as a "key decision-maker" who was in "full control" of the finances of valuable companies in Russia -- despite court orders banning any interference with the family's €500m international property group.

The former Anglo Irish Bank has placed new evidence before the courts which it says shows that Aoife Quinn and her husband Stephen Kelly gave instructions for millions to be transferred out of companies in Russia at a time when the family claimed that they had lost control of valuable overseas assets.

Mr Quinn's nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, exercised day-to-day control over the Russian companies in the international property group (IPG) up until February of this year, seven months after the court orders had been issued, according to new papers that have been filed by the IBRC (formerly Anglo).

The new evidence in the case has been described as "sinister and disturbing" by High Court Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne.

Sean Quinn Snr received a two-week reprieve from a possible jail term as his son, Sean Quinn Jnr, walked free from court after serving a three-month jail term for contempt.

Conspiracy

Despite the latter's newfound freedom, the IBRC says that new information it has received shows that Sean Quinn Jnr exercised day-to-day control over the IPG companies until he was jailed in July.

It claims that he directed -- or was aware -- that money was being extracted from the IPG in breach of court orders issued in June and July 2011.

Aoife Quinn, who is married to Stephen Kelly, has not been brought before the courts on a formal contempt motion.

But she is a defendant in conspiracy proceedings brought against members of the Quinn family by the IBRC.

Fresh information gleaned from damaged computers in Russia reveals that Aoife Quinn travelled to Moscow, Dubai, Abu Dhabi. Ukraine, England, Cyprus and Zurich after court orders had been issued last year.

Her husband Stephen, who is accused by the bank of the "deliberate and cynical" backdating of employment contracts that contained termination payments of over €30m for members of the Quinn family, also travelled extensively to Moscow, Kiev and the United Arab Emirates. All travel and expenses were paid for by the family's Russian companies.

The case against Sean Quinn Snr was adjourned for two weeks to allow a new legal team to become familiar with the complex case and then respond to the new information submitted by the IBRC.

Judge Dunne said it was "prudent" to afford time to the Quinns to deal with and contest the new evidence, much of it contained in email chains uncovered by the bank.

The IBRC agreed to the short adjournment. It wants to consider judgments by the Supreme Court, which last week upheld Sean Quinn Jnr's conviction and sentence -- but dismissed almost 30 coercive orders imposed on him.

Mediation

Eugene Grant, for Sean Quinn Snr and Sean Quinn Jnr, said Mr Quinn Snr now wanted to purge his contempt and was willing to co-operate with IBRC.

Mr Grant said the 66-year-old had had two major heart operations and revealed that Sean Quinn Snr, Sean Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn had written to IBRC to explore the potential for mediation.

But the bank said that court orders could not be mediated.

A warrant was issued for the arrest of Peter Darragh Quinn in July after he had failed to turn up in court. He remains at large.

The IBRC insists that it is very much within the power of the Quinn family to "reverse and put an end" to the asset stripping of IPG companies in Russia.

The state-owned bank said it believes that the Quinn family continues to control the assets of IPG companies in India, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and any other countries where companies have been set up to hold any assets moved out of the IPG.

Irish Independent

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