News Irish News

Monday 18 November 2019

IBRC accuses Quinns of making 'false statements' as bitter battle escalates

RONALD QUINLAN, MAEVE SHEEHAN AND TOM LYONS

THE chief executive of the former Anglo Irish Bank, Mike Aynsley, has accused the Quinn family of making "false statements" when they would be better off obeying court orders.

As the bitter dispute escalates into an acrimonious war of words, Mr Aynsley blasted the Quinn family for embarking on a PR campaign rather than helping the bank retrieve the €500m foreign property portfolio they were accused of putting beyond its reach.

Mr Aynsley told the Sunday Independent: "It is disappointing that instead of complying with the orders of two separate judges of the High Court, the Quinn family have chosen to repeatedly make false statements and allegations against the bank. It is the bank's view that their time would be better spent in complying with the court orders, and it looks forward to that compliance."

His comments provoked a furious response from Sean Quinn's daughter, Aoife. She said yesterday: "We are making every effort to comply with the court orders, as Anglo are fully aware. The Quinn family are not making any false allegations or statements, it's Anglo that are refusing to acknowledge its past and are trying to rewrite history."

However, Mr Aynsley's public criticisms of the Quinns will be seen by many as reflecting the renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation's growing frustration at the defiant publicity campaign being waged by the family.

It has separately emerged that a major review of security is under way at the Quinn Group amid heightened tensions prompted by the recent contempt of court proceedings against Sean Quinn, his son, Sean junior, and his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn.

With the bankrupt former billionaire now facing the prospect of joining his son in jail, it is feared that rogue supporters could mount a fresh wave of attacks on company property.



It is understood gardai in Cavan have held several meetings with Quinn Group executives to discuss the possibility of renewed attacks on the company, which has premises on both sides of the Border.

A garda source said detectives are "monitoring" threat levels on an ongoing basis and advising the company what the level of threat is.

A campaign of vandalism and intimidation has been waged against the company since Anglo Irish Bank ousted Sean Quinn from his business last year over a disputed €2.8bn debt.

The most recent occurred in March when a company truck was set alight at the gates of the group's packaging head office in Ballyconnell.

The most serious attack occurred outside the home of the group's new chief executive, Paul O'Brien, last year, when his car was torched.

The Quinn Group is believed to have spent hundreds of thousands of euro on private security firms to protect its properties.

Sean Quinn has condemned the attacks, saying they were not carried out in his name and gardai suspect rogue supporters of the Quinn family were behind them.

There is enormous local anger at the treatment of what was once Ireland's richest family. Thousands turned out at a peaceful rally in support of the businessman last month.

The Quinns are disputing €2.3bn of a total debt of €2.8bn owed to IBRC, claiming the loans were illegal.

Last month, the High Court found the family tried to put their €500m foreign property portfolio out of the bank's reach, in a complex series of asset transfers.

Sean junior and his cousin, Peter, were jailed for contempt of court but Peter went on the run to Northern Ireland, where a bench warrant issued for his arrest is unenforceable.

Sean Quinn senior escaped a jail sentence, on the basis that he would assist the bank in recovering the assets.

In an interview with TV3 last week, Aoife Quinn said she expected her father to join her brother in jail. She also said the family had no "pot of gold" under the bed.

However, the bank remains convinced that the Quinn family has millions stashed off-shore.

It has since emerged that the bank dispatched private investigators to investigate what Sean Quinn junior was up to on his honeymoon with his new bride, Karen Woods.

The couple married during the middle of the contempt of court proceedings in May and went on honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand.

Financial investigators hired by the bank retraced Sean junior's footsteps, ending up in Vanuatu, a tax haven in the South Pacific, but found nothing.

Sunday Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News