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Quinn family accounts freed up to pay €160,000 to lawyers

THE High Court has allowed several family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn to pay more than €160,000 in legal fees to their former lawyers.

The Quinn family have been subject to various freezing orders-known as Mareva orders, which were imposed by Mr Justice Peter Kelly in July.

The orders were sought by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, which asked the Court to freeze the accounts of various Quinn family members below €50m.

Those orders apply to the former billionaire businessman's five adult children, two sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland, as well as a number of foreign companies and any other party aware of the making of the orders.

Following an agreement between the Quinns and the bank, the family members were granted up to €2,000 each in weekly living expenses.

Today at a duty sitting of the High Court the family members asked Mr Justice Daniel O'Keeffe to vary the freezing orders so that they could pay fees due to a solicitors firm and the barristers who had previously acted for them.

Counsel for IBRC Mr Barry O'Donnell said that IBRC was consenting to the variation in the freezing order. Counsel for Declan Taite, the receiver appointed over the Quinn family's assets, also consented to the order.

After being informed that nobody was objecting to the application, Mr Justice O'Keeffe granted orders allowing Ciara Quinn, Colette Quinn, Sean Quinn Jnr, Brenda Quinn, Aoife Quinn, Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland pay a total of €161,000 from various banks accounts in their respective names.

Earlier this month, the High Court agreed to allow Dublin law firm Eversheds to come off record and cease representing the Quinns in their legal battles with IBRC in two sets of proceedings- the family's action denying liability for the €2.8bn loans and the bank's action alleging members of the family engaged in asset-stripping measures.

The lawyers had come off record because the Quinns could no longer afford to pay them in their on going litigation against the bank.

The firm will continue to represent Sean Quinn Jnr who was jailed, along with his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, last July for three months for being in contempt of court.

After the order was made Sean Quinn Jnr was taken to Mountjoy Prison. A warrant was issued for the arrest for his cousin who is believed to have left the jurisdiction.

The Quinn family's legal actions against the bank are due to be mentioned before the Commercial Court later this month.