Sunday 17 December 2017

Quinns want to quiz Neary on Anglo loans

Former Regulator Patrick Neary. Photo: Collins
Former Regulator Patrick Neary. Photo: Collins
Eugene Sheehy
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The family of bankrupt tycoon Sean Quinn are to pursue the Financial Regulator on what he knew about the loans to fund their father's investment in the former Anglo Irish Bank, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Sources close to the Quinn family last night said the children will be going back to court within weeks looking for documents relating to Patrick Neary for their €2.3bn legal action, now that the criminal trial has ended, as part of their case against the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which replaced Anglo before it was itself put into liquidation.

They will also make a fresh bid to get letters and emails between the IBRC and the Department of Finance, which they were denied while the trial was ongoing.

The Quinn family will be pressing for a date for a hearing, alleging that the loans to their family were illegal and aimed at supporting the bank's share price. The bank has accused the family of trying to strip away the assets of their father's empire.

As part of their action, the Quinns have claimed that Mr Neary was aware that the former Anglo was funding their father's share dealing in the bank, along with the Central Bank and the Department of Finance.

Mr Neary's role in the unwinding of Sean Quinn's stake in Anglo Irish Bank through contracts for difference came under scrutiny during the criminal trial.

According to evidence in court, the regulator was informed about Mr Quinn's massive stake in the bank in 2007. During the trial, Mr Neary denied that he knew about the size of Mr Quinn's holding until March 2008.

Mr Neary also met Mr Quinn in early 2008 when the tycoon called into his office. But he said he didn't ask Mr Quinn about the size of his stake, because he didn't think it would be fair or appropriate.

The 10-week trial ended last Thursday with two former directors of Anglo, Pat Whelan and William McAteer, being found guilty of providing illegal loans to 10 businessmen to buy shares in the bank. They were found not guilty in relation to loans to the Quinn family. Sean Fitzpatrick, the bank's former chairman, was found not guilty of all charges.

Commentators speculated that the jury may have found that the loans to the Maple 10 were outside the course of normal business because they did not have to be repaid in full, and were therefore illegal. The loans to the Quinn family had to be repaid in full, and therefore were not illegal.

However, source close to the Quinn family questioned this interpretation, saying: "The family is suing a company, not an individual. We believe that the jury did not find that the loans to the Quinn family were legal. The jury found that Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan were not involved in illegal loans to the Quinn family."

The Quinn family issued a formal statement after the verdict, saying they had followed the trial closely: "The information that we have garnered will be of huge assistance to us in our forthcoming legal cases against IBRC (in special liquidation), Kieran Wallace, the Department of Finance, the Financial Regulator and the board of directors of Anglo Irish Bank."

The family said they will be looking for a hearing date for their case "as soon as possible".

Sunday Independent

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