Monday 19 February 2018

Quinns' complaints over failure to be paid €100,000 annual 'living costs' is attacked

Karen Woods
Karen Woods

Tim Healy

Complaints by Sean Quinn Junior and his wife Karen Woods about a recent failure to pay some of their €100,000 annual living expenses should be seen in the context of a "scheme of misappropriation on a grand scale", the High Court has been told.

Some $13m (€10.4m) was extracted from a company in India "and we don't know where that has gone", said Barry O'Donnell, for the special liquidators of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Information from India and Hong Kong showed "a scheme of misappropriation" was done, over time and especially in 2010, at the instigation and for the benefit of members of the Quinn family.

The transactions at issue "have never been explained" and while the family maintain they had no idea what was going on, that was "wholly implausible", he said.

This, and the fact Mr Quinn and his wife are getting close to €100,000 annually in living expenses, was of concern to the bank and it was "imperative" the matters were addressed.

Ross Aylward BL, for Mr Quinn and Ms Woods, said there was no sworn statement from the bank concerning those matters, which were issues for the full trial of the bank's case against the Quinns alleging conspiracy to put assets beyond its reach, and not for this application about living expenses.

Sean Quinn Junior
Sean Quinn Junior

The dispute about living expenses arises as a result of orders dating back to 2012, freezing accounts of the Quinns pending the full hearing of the bank's case, subject to the family being paid reasonable living expenses and funds for legal fees.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said that while he was prepared to grant the parties' request to adjourn to March the living expenses dispute, he hoped the sides would try to resolve it without taking up further court time.

The judge said a property at Alder Lodge, Castleknock, belonging to Mr Quinn, should be sold.

Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, for receivers appointed over the frozen accounts, had complained that property should have been sold on foot of court orders last year permitting its sale. The property is not on the market and Mr Quinn's sister Brenda is living there for a monthly rent of €1,000, paid to the receivers.

On being told Mr Quinn does not believe it is a good time to sell with property prices still rising, the judge suggested he "might be wrong".

Mr O'Donnell said no one can predict what will happen and it was "foolish" to believe a market rises continually.

"I don't have to explain that as I'm standing here for the special liquidators of IBRC," he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the receivers consider the rental arrangement for Alder Lodge is a breach of the freezing orders because the rent is below market value.

The court heard Mr Quinn owns another property at Clarion Quay in Dublin which is rented to tenants with the rental payments going to KBC Bank, which holds a mortgage over the property.

Irish Independent

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