Sunday 25 February 2018

Former Quinn-controlled company settles €6m case with son-in-law

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

Tim Healy

A COMPANY formerly controlled by the family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has settled an action over payments of more than €6m made in 2008 by the firm to Mr Quinn's son-in-law, Niall McPartland.

Quinn Finance had claimed the payments were to meet margin calls on shares in Anglo Irish Bank and there was no record of the payments being authorised by the finance company.

Lawyers for Mr McPartland, who is a solicitor, previously said the payments related to investments in shares in Anglo and Mr McPartland did not stand to make any personal gain from them.

Settlement talks have been underway between Quinn Finance and Mr McPartland for some time, the Commercial Court heard yesterday when Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told the case, which was initiated in 2012, had been settled.

On the application of Una Tighe BL, for Quinn Finance, the judge struck out the proceedings.

Quinn Finance, which was removed by Anglo's successor, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) from the control of the Quinn family in April 2011, brought the proceedings against Mr McPartland, Castleknock Road, Castleknock, Dublin.

The case arose from payments made over several months in 2008 by Quinn Finance (under its former management) to Mr McPartland's account with NCB Stockbrokers Ltd.

It was claimed the payments were to meet margin calls on financial derivative investments, known as contracts for difference (CFDs), in shares in Anglo but there was no record of the payments being authorised by Quinn Finance.

Robert Dix, the new chairman of Quinn Finance, previously said it wanted to recover €6.1m from Mr McPartland representing transfers from Quinn Finance "under its prior management" to him for margin calls due by Mr McPartland "in the context of his private wealth management arrangements", including his agreement for a CFD account.

Counsel for Mr McPartland had previously said his client had "nothing to do" with those payments by Quinn Finance and had rather made a serious error and acted "unwisely" in letting that company use his name while engaging in company trading.

Mr McPartland, his counsel added, did not stand to make any personal gain from that trading but rather held monies on trust for the benefit of Quinn Finance.

Quinn Finance had written to Mr McPartland in January 2012 about the payments after a review of the Quinn Finance accounts undertaken after IBRC took over various Quinn companies in April 2011.

Quinn Finance was the funding vehicle for the Quinn international property group established by Sean Quinn to develop a large international property portfolio for the benefit of his five adult children.

In an affidavit, Mr Dix said a review of Quinn Finance documents showed transfers of more than €11m had been made from Quinn Finance to NCB between June to December 2008.

A NCB Wealth Management Application form signed by Mr McPartland on April 22, 2008, stated the sources of his wealth as inheritance, sale of property and other family inheritance, Mr Dix said.

Attached to that form was a mandate from Mr McPartland authorising NCB to open an account with IG Markets Ltd to trade CFDs as agent on behalf of Mr McPartland.

Analysis of documents showed some €6.1m was transferred from Quinn Finance to NCB for the benefit of Mr McPartland between June and October 2008, Mr Dix said. He had written to NCB on August 30, 2011, asking for information about these transfers.

On October 4, 2011, NCB replied stating, acting on instructions, it had credited each of the transfers to the account of Mr McPartland, Mr Dix said.

Quinn International Property Management Ltd sought further information from NCB.

In early December 2011, NCB had said that, each time there was a margin payment due on Mr McPartland's account, Ian Quigley of NCB contacted Mark McNamara of Quinn Finance, or Paul McKenna if Mr McNamara was absent, to inform him of the funds required which were then transferred to NCB.

 NCB had said it was not aware who within Quinn Finance authorised the payments and it had not received written instructions from Quinn Finance concerning the margin payments.

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