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IBRC rejects Quinn's '€381m award' move

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) has rejected claims by bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn's family that it should make €381m available to cover any damages awarded to them if they defeat the bank's case against them.

In seeking an undertaking for it to pay €381m damages in such an event, the family are effectively seeking compensation for the value of assets they themselves stripped from their international property group (IPG), the bank argued.

"How is that a logical proposition?" Brian Murray SC, for the bank, asked in the High Court yesterday.

The Quinns had admitted the bank was owed €343m but disputed it was owed a further €2.34bn, he said.

The bank was therefore entitled to appropriate assets in that value, he argued.

In this case, there was an admitted scheme of asset stripping done secretly and in breach of court orders to vest assets in favour of the Quinns at the expense of a secured creditor, he said.

This was also done in a context where they had not challenged the appointment of share receivers.

The bank, in that context, sought orders restraining asset stripping and freezing their accounts and it would be prejudicial to the bank if they were given "free rein" to continue that, he argued.

Ownership of the IPG assets is vested in companies, with the effect the Quinns cannot claim they themselves have suffered losses equivalent to the value of the IPG assets, he said.

Given the admitted scheme to strip assets, the balance of convenience was against lifting the freezing orders on the Quinns accounts or requiring IBRC to provide a fortified undertaking for €381m damages, he argued.

Martin Hayden, for the Quinns, said they disputed the bank is entitled to €343m and only accepted it had security for about €38.19m of that sum.

The Quinns' claims of criminal actions by the former Anglo Irish Bank in their own case against it – denying liability for €2.34bn of loans – were supported by the decision to take criminal proceedings against some former officials of the bank, he said.

Mr Justice Michael Peart heard closing arguments yesterday in the Quinns' application aimed at discharging orders granted last June and July which have frozen their accounts below €50m. He has reserved judgment to a later date.

Irish Independent