Saturday 24 March 2018

Family of Sean Quinn claim they are "crucified" dealing with Anglo

Sean Quinn Jr and his wife, Karen
Sean Quinn Jr and his wife, Karen

Tim Healy

THE family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn are at their "wits' end" dealing with the former Anglo Irish Bank, a court heard today

They feel "crucified" and want a mediation of the bitter legal dispute over the location of multi-million assets of the Quinn international property group (IPG), the Commercial Court was told.

The family yesterday opposed an application by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, for a court cross-examination of the Quinn children and some of their extended family to establish if they have disclosed full details of asset-stripping measures.

The family contend they have, but the bank claims otherwise. That matter has been adjourned to November 29.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said today, while he is a strong supporter of mediation, it was not appropriate at this stage given the bank's opposition to mediation at this point due to its belief the family had not complied with court orders to fully disclose assets. If mediation became an option later, he would do all he could to assist a mediated resolution.

Barry O'Donnell, for IBRC, said there was "no proper environment" for mediation where some of the Quinns had sworn matters which turned out to be materially untrue and there continued to be "strong non-compliance" with disclosure orders.

It was wrong to say the bank had not engaged with the family, it had, but the engagement was "unproductive". The bank had also set out in detail the failures of the Quinns in terms of compliance, he added.

Several of the family were in court including Sean Quinn Jnr, who was freed from Mountjoy Prison last Friday on expiry of a three month detention period imposed for contempt of court orders of June/July 2011 restraining asset stripping.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Niall McPartland, a son-in-law of Mr Quinn, objected to cross-examination of the family and said mediation was a cheaper and faster way of addressing the issues.

The family had told the bank "for the past year and a half" that "we do not have the assets and we can't get them", he said.

"We are at our wits' end" and in a very difficult position, he said. The family had offered to assist the bank in its effort to recover assets, it had not taken that up and the "constant bombardment" of court orders was not helping.

While the Quinns accept they have questions to answer in the general litigation, a Supreme Court judge said earlier this week the bank also has questions to answer, he said. The impression was being given it was "all the Quinns fault" but there was "more going on than meets the eye" and the bank would not have to answer questions as long as it pursued efforts to jail the Quinns, he said.

The judge said the application at this stage was to cross-examine and any further application would have to be made on notice and any contempt claims would have to be based on clearly defined allegations.

Mr McPartland said the bank's "sinister" cross-examination application served a dual purpose in letting it "have a go" at the family in the witness box before the hearing of the main action.

In the main action, the family dispute liability for some €2.34bn loans advanced by Anglo to Quinn companies on grounds those loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank's share price.

He also indicated the family may apply to see some 26,000 documents salvaged by the bank from an alleged deliberately damaged server of a computer of a Russian company which owns the most valuable asset in the IPG, the Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow.

It seemed to be suggested the family damaged that server, that was "categorically denied" and the family believed the bank was exhibiting selective documents from those salvaged, he said.

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