Friday 20 July 2018

Judge wants to be satisfied Sean Quinn Jr and wife are 'playing ball' before he decides on €10.5k living expenses arrears

Sean Quinn Junior
Sean Quinn Junior

Tim Healy

A High Court judge has deferred, pending the outcome of a further hearing, a decision whether to direct payment of about €10,500 arrears of living expenses to Sean Quinn Junior and his wife.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said he needs to be satisfied the couple are "playing ball" with orders made by him last July concerning possible sale of a property of Mr Quinn Junior's, the proceeds of which could go towards living expenses.

The judge directed the application concerning expenses arrears from December last be heard in May alongside an application by State owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) for the sale of two properties of Mr Quinn Junior.

Mr Quinn Junior and his wife Karen Woods, who have three children, will not be “destitute”, the judge said.

Neither are in paid work but will continue to receive living expenses, totalling some €100,000 annually, from accounts controlled by receivers appointed over their assets.

Having been told Mr Quinn Junior has worked unpaid for some nine months as part-time CEO of his father's new business, QuinnBet, because it is a start up with insufficient funds so far to pay him a salary, the judge suggested he talk to his father about getting some payment for his work to date.

Ross Aylward BL, for the couple, disagreed with the judge there might be no arrears difficulties if a property of Mr Quinn Junior’s at Alder Lodge, Castleknock, occupied by his sister Brenda Quinn for €1,000 monthly rent, was rented for about €3,500 monthly. A previous €3,000 monthly short term rental arrangement with another person involved Mr Quinn Junior being responsible for paying utility bills and other expenses, counsel said. 

The living expenses are before the court as a result of orders, dating back to 2012, freezing accounts of some Quinn family members pending the full hearing of IBRC's case alleging conspiracy to put millions of assets beyond its reach. The accounts are frozen subject to the Quinns being paid reasonable living expenses and funds for legal fees.

Mr Aylward asked the court on Tuesday to direct that €10,500 arrears of living expenses be paid now, before the hearing of a separate motion by IBRC seeking orders requiring Mr Quinn Junior to sell Alder Lodge and another property at Clarion Quay, Dublin. Counsel said mortgage payments on Clarion Quay are four months in arrears and there are service charge arrears on both properties.

Mr Quinn Junior opposes selling Alder Lodge because he believes property prices may rise further and he needed time to reply to the bank’s motion, received just last Thursday, counsel said. KBC may have an issue about sale of Clarion Quay, mortgaged to the bank, which is being paid rent by tenants there, he also indicated.

Mr Justice Haughton said he would give the couple time to respond to the bank’s application but was not prepared to authorise payment of the €10,500 arrears before that and would address all matters together in May.

If he considered the couple were "not playing ball", he could refuse expenses, he remarked.

Mr Aylward said his clients are "playing ball" with "very restrictive" freezing orders affecting their ability to get on with their day to day lives and business opportunities.

A valuation was got for Alder Lodge and it was put it on the property to test the market, counsel said. His clients considered the judge's July order did not compel the sale but rather enabled it if Mr Quinn considered it appropriate. They also accepted the accounts from which living expenses are paid would be reimbursed from any future income of theirs.

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