Thursday 22 February 2018

Quinn assets have 'already been stripped' - High Court

Aoife Quinn
Aoife Quinn

AN application by members of the Quinn family for legal orders stopping assets of Quinn companies being moved to NAMA ignores the fact those assets have already been stripped by some family members, a court heard.

Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) argues that if it does recover any of those assets after spending huge sums in Russia, Ukraine and India, the effect of the Quinns getting the orders sought would mean those assets would be impounded pending the outcome of the family's legal case, Paul Gallagher SC, for the State-owned bank, said.

The Quinns had made out no legal basis for the orders as they did not own or control the relevant companies and they should also be refused the orders on grounds including they came to court with "unclean hands" arising from asset-stripping from companies in their international property group (IPG), counsel said.

IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace said in affidavits the application by Mrs Patricia Quinn and her five children "ignores completely" Sean Quinn Senior's "grossly reckless speculation in contracts for difference with Quinn Group funds".

Arguments by the family the Quinn Group was not insolvent in April 2011 when IBRC appointed share receivers over those companies ignored the reality of the financial position, he said.

Claims by the family that, were it not for alleged illegal loans made by the former Anglo Irish Bank (now IBRC) to Quinn companies, those companies could in 2011 have met "admitted valid" lending to IBRC and have continued repaying some €1.3bn debt to banks and bondholders were "directly contrary to the facts", he said.

As of April 2011, the Quinn family owed IBRC €2.8bn of which about €2.3bn was secured by the share charges at issue in the family's case.

As of April 2011, neither the family nor their companies were able to repay the €455m debt which had been admitted was validly owed to IBRC or the disputed balance, he said.

In the Commercial Court yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan heard arguments on behalf of IBRC in the continuing hearing of the Quinns application for orders preventing assets of Quinn companies being sold or moved to NAMA by the end of this year in accordance with a direction of the Minister for Finance.

The Quinns claim, unless the orders are made, there will be no funds available to meet a huge damages claim should the family win their action alleging they are not liable for some €2.34bn loans made by Anglo to Quinn companies in 2007 and 2008 on grounds those loans were allegedly unlawfully made for the purpose of propping up the bank's share price.

The hearing of the family's main action has been parked pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against some former executives of Anglo.

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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