Monday 19 February 2018

Quinns get go-ahead for action over €2.3bn loans

Patricia Quinn, wife of Sean Quinn
Patricia Quinn, wife of Sean Quinn

Tim Healy

THE go-ahead has been given for a full hearing next year of the legal action by bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn's family over some €2.34bn loans advanced by the former Anglo Irish Bank.

At the request of the DPP, the Commercial Court action by Patricia Quinn and her five children had been parked – pending the hearing of criminal proceedings against three former Anglo executives.

But following the conclusion of the criminal case last month, and the DPP's consent to the stay being lifted, Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday directed the Quinns' case could begin on April 13 next year.

The case is against Anglo's successor, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), and its special liquidator Kieran Wallace. IBRC previously secured orders joining Sean Quinn and two former senior Quinn Group executives, Dara O'Reilly and Liam McCaffrey, as notice parties.

Martin Hayden, for the family, said yesterday his side intends to apply shortly to have the Commercial Court fast-track their separate action brought against the Central Bank, in its capacity as financial regulator; the Department of Finance; and several former Anglo executives over the making of the loans.

The Quinns filed that action last year.

The family's main action against IBRC was initiated in May 2011 and the Commercial Court has dealt with dozens of pre-trial applications since.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Kelly was told the DPP was not objecting to lifting the stay on those proceedings.

In those circumstances, the judge approved a timetable for discovery and exchange of legal documents, which has been agreed between the sides prior to the hearing on April 13 next year.

The case itself is expected to last between six and nine months, with the ultimate costs expected to be tens of millions of euro.

In their proceedings, the Quinns deny liability for some €2.3bn of total loans of about €2.8bn, which they claim were given illegally by the bank to prop up its share price.

Assets

The bank's own action alleges a conspiracy by the Quinn defendants and others to strip assets valued at up to €455m in the Quinns' international property group.

This action was initiated in June 2011, but was also stayed at the request of the DPP due to the criminal proceedings involving the former Anglo executives. The legal costs of that case to date are conservatively estimated at well over €15m.

A full hearing date for the conspiracy action has yet to be set but there have been more than 40 pre-trial applications here, including for orders freezing accounts of several family members and contempt proceedings resulting in the jailing of Sean Quinn and his son Sean Jnr.

The case has also involved applications in other courts worldwide, including Russia and Cyprus.

Irish Independent

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