News Courts

Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Huge' six-figure sums passed through accounts of Ciara Quinn and her children, receiver claims

Niall McPartland and Ciara Quinn pictured after their wedding at The Church of the Immaculate Conseption Staghall, Belturbot Co Cavan. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Niall McPartland and Ciara Quinn pictured after their wedding at The Church of the Immaculate Conseption Staghall, Belturbot Co Cavan. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Left to right, Aoife and Ciara Quinn, daughters of former billionaire, Sean Quinn, leaving court after a High Court hearing. Photo: Collins

A RECEIVER appointed over assets of members of Sean Quinn's family claims "huge" six-figure sums passed in and out of accounts held in the joint names of Ciara Quinn and some of her children during 2011 and 2012.

The Quinns argue those sums have "nothing whatever" to do with assets of their international property group or any assets the subject matter of legal proceedings between them and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the Commercial Court heard.

IBRC claims an analysis of the accounts, disclosed by the Quinns in autumn 2012, showed they were "not maintained for the benefit of the children in question". 

They involved "extraordinary transactions" whereby vast amounts of money were being channelled in and out of the children's accounts", IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace said in an affidavit.

However, Aoife Quinn said in her affidavit the monies lodged to the credit of the accounts came from Cranaghan Property Management Ltd, Quinn Windfarm Ltd and Snugborough and IBRC "well knew" those companies had no connection to the legal action.

The claims were made during an application on behalf of the Quinn children and other members of the extended family for variations on freezing orders on their accounts.

Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, for Declan Taite, receiver appointed over the Quinn family assets, said an explanation was sought for the "huge" transactions from Ciara Quinn but the explanation was only recently provided.

The receiver had sought an explanation why accounts jointly held with children were used for "such an enormous level" of transactions to national and international accounts.

Despite the court stating the Quinns should co-operate with Mr Taite and another receiver, Sharon Barrett, who were both appointed in 2011, the receivers considered the Quinns to be frustrating and impeding their investigations into a range of matters, counsel added.  

Ross Aylward BL, for the Quinns, said the accounts referred to by Mr Fitzpatrick were not at issue in the proceedings in which the Quinns yesterday reached agreement with IBRC permitting variations on freezing orders on their accounts subject to various conditions. The freezing orders were granted in July 2011.

Mr Aylward said a suggestion by IBRC that some €6m passed in and out of the accounts was based on "double-counting" lodgments and withdrawals and the sums involved were "nowhere near" €6m. 

The delay in providing an explanation was a result of "an innocent oversight", he said.

The payments referred to include a €735,000 credit payment, dated May 2011, from the account of a wind farm company to an account held by Ciara Quinn and a daughter of Ms Quinn.

Another payment, dated January 2012, was a €320,000 debit transfer to an account in Dubai with the beneficiary name as Market Study Solar Energy. 

Other payments were substantial six figure debit payments made to lawyers. A credit payment of some €320,000 was made in April 2012 to Ciara Quinn's own account from an account of a company in Dubai.

The court heard some variations to the freezing orders were previously agreed, including variations allowing for payment of tax bills of some members of the family and allowing Sean Quinn Junior raise a mortgage on his home at Castleknock, Dublin, so as to purge his contempt of court orders.

Further agreement was reached yesterday on a variation which will allow the Quinns regain control of their own cars, and any vehicles they may replace them with, from the receivers.

After talks, the sides reached an agreement concerning the entire variation applications and full details of that agreement will be put before the judge today (Thursday).

The Quinns will also ask the judge to allow them personally seek any further variations arising from the costs involved in making such applications in court.

Among the variations being sought include one allowing Sean Quinn Junior operate a bank account for living expenses, subject to making statements of that account available to the receiver. That variation was being sought in circumstances including that Mr Quinn and his wife Karen Woods are expecting a baby in April, the court heard.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said some of the variations sought related to "minuscule" sums which he believed could have been agreed between the sides without the need for court proceedings. He accepted other "more problematic" matters may have needed court intervention.

The court heard Sean Quinn junior had been permitted a monthly sum of €5,273 of which he understood some €2,000 could be used for daily expenses with the remaining sums for mortgage payments. He had also withdrawn monies from his Ocean Bank account, the court was told.

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