Wednesday 22 November 2017

Russian Quinn contracts 'had assassination clause'

Left, Sean Quinn Jnr leaving the Four Courts yesterday. Right,
Mike Aynsley, CEO of IBRC, after the hearling.
Left, Sean Quinn Jnr leaving the Four Courts yesterday. Right, Mike Aynsley, CEO of IBRC, after the hearling.

Tim Healy

MEMBERS of Sean Quinn's family stood to receive payments of up to €7.5m if they were injured or if there was "an assassination attempt" on them while they were employed with Russian companies, the Supreme Court has been told.

The court heard that members of the bankrupt billionaire's family travelled to Moscow to sign their employment contracts with Russian companies and that these entitled them to "huge" payments of up to €36m each if their contracts were terminated.

The trip to Moscow happened just days after the High Court had made orders restraining the stripping of assets from those and other companies, the five-judge court was told.

Lawyers for the former Anglo Irish Bank said it had recently obtained details of the contracts in emails retrieved from a "deliberately smashed" computer in premises of one of the Russian companies.

Arrangements to draft and sign the contracts were made by family members days before and on the eve of a July 20, 2011 High Court application by the IBRC (formerly Anglo) for orders restraining the stripping of assets worth up to $430m (€330m) from companies in the family's international property group (IPG).

Other emails showed Sean Quinn Jnr dealing with property-management issues for Russian companies earlier this year, months after the Quinns had told the High Court that they had lost control of those companies, Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC said yesterday.

The emails showed that the Quinns had given "utterly false" evidence in the High Court contempt proceedings about not being in control of the Russian companies, counsel said.

The court was told that these and other matters should persuade it to uphold a High Court finding that Sean Quinn Jnr was lawfully jailed on July 20 for contempt of orders made in June and July 2011, restraining the stripping of assets so as to place them beyond the reach of IBRC, he said.

The IBRC urged the court to uphold the contempt finding in the continuing appeal by Sean Quinn Jnr.

He was jailed after being found guilty of participation in a $500,000 (€384,000) payment to Larrisa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, in late August 2011 -- just before the bank took it over.

Emails

The appeal is also against a July 20 order, jailing him over his failure to comply with some 30 coercive orders aimed at reversing the Puga payment and other asset-stripping measures. The IBRC has argued that the process leading to the jailing decision involved "no substantial injustice".

Senior counsel Paul Gallagher, for the IBRC, has said the bank does not accept that the €430m of assets are gone and beyond the control of the Quinns.

Mr Gallagher said emails showed that Peter Darragh Quinn, Mr Quinn's nephew and former head of the IPG, had on February 29 last passed on responsibility for matters affecting the Russian companies to Sean Jnr.

Subsequent emails showed Sean Quinn Jnr dealing with snow removal, canteen and electricity-supply issues for various Russian companies, he said.

In an earlier email, dated July 19, 2011, Stephen Kelly, husband of Aoife Quinn, told a Russian company employee that Ciara, Aoife and Colette Quinn (three of Mr Quinn's daughters), Niall McPartland (husband of Ciara Quinn) and Karen Woods (the then fiancee and now wife of Sean Quinn jnr) "will be over to Moscow next week and will be taking jobs in three Russian companies -- Red Sector, Logistica and Fin Invest".

The appeal has been adjourned to Wednesday next, when it is expected to conclude with judgment reserved.

Irish Independent

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