Quinn-linked firm 'extracted $15m in bogus transactions', court hears
A company connected to an advisory firm to the family of businessman Sean Quinn is allegedly behind the "cash extraction" of some $15m from an Indian company in a number of bogus transactions, it has been claimed in the Commercial Court.
It is part of a scheme designed to put €455m in Quinn group assets beyond the reach of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, it is claimed.
On Monday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted IBRC liquidator Kieran Wallace an interim order appointing a receiver over shares in the Indian company called Macksoft Tech Pty which was recently the subject of insolvency proceedings in India taken by a Quinn firm in that country.
Mr Wallace claims Macksoft's shares are held by a Dubai-registered company called Mecon FZE whose controlling shareholder, Willem Smit, is the principal of a firm called Senat Legal Consultancy which has been an adviser to members of the Quinn family.
In 2012, the High Court granted orders prohibiting members of the Quinn family and a number of companies, including Mecon, from dissipating assets within the Quinn international property group (IPG).
Mr Wallace claims evidence has come to light which shows Mecon has breached the terms of those 2011 injunctions which also ultimately led to the jailing for contempt of Sean Quinn and his son Sean Quinn junior for failing to obey orders preventing asset stripping of the IPG.
He says information obtained from the Indian insolvency proceedings of Macksoft show Mecon entered into a number of bogus transactions with companies including Minerali Holdings Pvt, Minerali FZE, Senat FZC Isaad FZE and Cresco Legal Consultancy FZ-LLP.
The sole purpose of these, Mr Wallace says, is to "extract many millions of dollars from Macksoft, effectively dissipating its assets and value, contrary to the terms of the 2012 injunctive orders".
Principal among those transactions was the stripping of some €12.5m from Macksoft, through an account of a Hong Kong-registered firm called Orient Guide Investments and on to a bank account in the name of a UAE company associated with Senat FZC and Isaad FZE. Orient was until 2011 beneficially owned by Michael Waechter, who IBRC is also bringing its case against.
The stripping of Macksoft assets was done under the guise of bogus and concocted software licence agreements, Mr Wallace says. However, the Indian insolvency practitioner dealing with the Macksoft proceedings, says he has seen no evidence whatsoever that Macksoft - which is a property owning company - received any software, "much less software that might have cost €12.5m", Mr Wallace says.
It is their case that the Senat defendants played a central role in devising, implementing an effecting the scheme related to Macksoft and that it is "impossible to differentiate between Senat and Mecon", he says.
Mr Wallace says that it has been IBRC's case since 2011 that Mecon is ultimately beneficially owned by or on behalf of the Quinn family and controlled for their benefit. In light of the latest new information, it was their belief this was either still the case or that some mechanism has been put in place to enable the Quinns obtain a benefit from Mecon's assets.
In applying for the appointment of solicitor Colm McCarthy as receiver over the Macksoft Shares, Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC, said this was a most serious development and needed to be dealt with urgently.
Jarlath Ryan BL, for Senat, opposed the granting of interim orders and asked that he be given three weeks to put in replying affidavits. He said his clients would denying the allegations.
Larry Brennan, solicitor for the Quinn personal defendants, told the court while his clients were not party to this latest case by IBRC, they were notice parties and they would be seeking to refute the allegations against them contained in Mr Wallace's affidavit.
Mr Justice McGovern said he was satisfied to appoint Mr McCarthy as receiver until the case returns next month. He also granted interim orders against Senat and Mr Waechter preventing them, or their agents, from taking direct or indirect steps in the disposal or sale of any of the Macksoft assets.