Thursday 22 February 2018

Quinn family claim receiver has a conflict of interest

Tim Healy

A CHALLENGE by family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn to the appointment of a receiver over their personal assets has opened before the Commercial Court.

The Quinns claim Declan Taite of accountancy firm FCS and his solicitors Arthur Cox, who were appointed by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IRBC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, have a conflict of interest and should be removed. They claim both the receiver and the lawyers are required by law to be independent but that they are too closely identified with IBRC.

Some of the partners in Arthur Cox were involved in the restructuring of the Quinn Group and the firm had been involved over years with both Anglo and IBRC, said Niall McPartland, a son-in-law of Sean Quinn, today.

Both the receiver and Arthur Cox have denied the claims of conflict of interest.

IBRC is seeking to recover loans of up to €2.8bn made to Quinn companies but the family, in their action against the bank due to be heard next April, allege it is not entitled to recover some €2.34bn loans because they were "shovelled" by the bank illegally into the companies in a bid to shore up its share price.

Mr Justcie Peter Kelly is also today hearing an application by Mr Taite for an order requiring the Quinns to hand over wide-ranging financial records and information about their personal assets.

The challenge is by Mr Quinn's four daughters, sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland and daughter-in-law Karen Woods who are all attending the hearing.

The family are representing themselves after the Dublin law firm Eversheds stopped acting for them last month due to alleged inability to pay legal fees.

Mr McPartland, a qualified solicitor, is representing the family and making the application. He had secured an adjournment to today of the application by Mr Taite seeking books, records and documents for each of the Quinns showing their assets and tax and financial affairs so as to see if solicitors could be engaged to represent them.

Disclosing the information would have "devastating consequences" on the family's separate litigation against the bank, he has said.

Mr Justice Kelly had directed the Quinns to outline to the court on affidavit their specific allegations about a conflict of interest by Mr Taite and Arthur Cox.

IBRC has alleged the family's objection was to delay the receiver's application for documents. The family had previously told the court that memory sticks containing information had already been lost and the bank had "very serious concerns" about the disclosure by the Quinns, he said.

Aoife Quinn had told the court the memory sticks were stolen from her car in Dublin city centre on July 28 along with other material and that criminal charges have been brought in relation to that theft.

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