Saturday 7 December 2019

Quinns want to cross-examine liquidator over undisclosed assets claim

Sean Quinn. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Sean Quinn. Photo: Gerry Mooney Newsdesk Newsdesk

MEMBERS of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn's family want to cross-examine a bank liquidator over claims they may be hiding up to €500m undisclosed assets from the bank

The Quinns say those claims by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) special liquidator Kieran Wallace, based on information from unidentified informants, are "scurrilous lies".

Despite orders obtained by IBRC from the London and US courts for disclosure of documents, nothing has been obtained to support the allegations, they also say.

The family also objected that the allegations were outlined by IBRC to the Commercial Court last May via an affidavit from Mr Wallace without the family being given any notice of them. 

At that May 30 hearing, the court was told IBRC obtained disclosure orders at the Commercial Court in London and the bankruptcy court in Delaware, US on foot of information from two informants.

In the London proceedings, orders were secured requiring disclosure of documents by Investec Bank and an employee which IBRC  believed would show some €300m in gold was bought on behalf of the Quinns, of which €200 million was transferred to the Virgin islands.

The disclosure orders were complied with and Mr Wallace said no transactions as alleged were identified and the Investec employee had no connection with the Quinn family.

However, email material disclosed by Yahoo UK Ltd, relating to an email address, contained information that tallied in some respects with original documents supplied by the informants, he said.

As a result, IBRC applied to the bankruptcy court in Delaware, US, for disclosure orders orders relating to email traffic and it has since sought orders aimed at seeing the content of various emails.

Last July, the Quinns sought to see the documents in connection with IBRC's claims and they now want to cross-examine Mr Wallace about various matters in his affidavit.

The Quinn's cross-examination application came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern yesterday.

Barry O'Donnell BL, for IBRC, said Mr Wallace has just returned from the US where there had been developments which he may wish to put on affidavit.  

In those circumstances, the judge said he would adjourn the application to next month.

In an affidavit on behalf of the Quinns, Niall McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn, said, having reviewed all the documents on foot of which IBRC went to court last May and other material, the family wanted to cross-examine Mr Wallace on his affidavit provided to the May hearing.

The documents disclosed on foot of the London court orders disclosed "no transaction whatsoever" relating to the Quinn family, "nor any connection  whatsoever with us", Mr McPartland said.

Notwithstanding that "totally negative result", Mr Wallace had tried to justify the English court application by stating email material disclosed by Yahoo UK Ltd "tallied in some respects with the original documentation furnished by the informants", Mr McPartland said.

That was despite "clear" evidence there was "no basis whatsoever for the allegations made concerning the purchase and/or transfer of gold".

Mr Wallace had said last May he believed email traffic on various addresses would be produced within one week but, five months later, it appeared no such information has been obtained, Mr McPartland said.

IBRC got an order from the US courts on October 15 last directing the email account holders to provide documents on their email accounts.

IBRC's US attorney had told the Quinns lawyers on November 12,that because the email account holders had not provided documents, IBRC intended to apply to the Delaware court on November 21.

Unless the Quinns were permitted cross-examine Mr Wallace, an "extremely prejudicial and erroneous" view of the relevant Quinn family members would remain which the family would be unable to rebut until the hearing of the bank's case, which was unlikely to take place for some considerable time, Mr McPartland said.

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