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Thursday 14 December 2017

Lifestyle guru Quinn ordered to testify in multi-million US lawsuit

Aodhan O Faolain

THE High Court has cleared the way for lifestyle guru and businessman Tony Quinn to give evidence in Ireland as part of a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy ordered Mr Quinn to give evidence in a case in Denver, Colorado, regarding International Natural Energy (INE).

Mr Quinn was appointed as a director of the company several years ago.

The case concerns the sale of shares in INE, the holding company for a firm involved in oil exploration in the Central American country of Belize. Former INE director Jean Cornec claims he has not been paid in full for a $15m (€11.7m) sale of his shares to INE director Susan Morrice, who is the firm's chairperson.

In response Ms Morrice has alleged that Mr Cornec broke their contract by engaging in a campaign of undermining Tony Quinn.

She also claims the campaign against Mr Quinn resulted in the loss to INE of a proposed $100m (€78.2m) investment from Dubai. Mr Cornec has denied those allegations.

Mr Cornec's lawyers secured an order from the District Court in Denver County that requested the Irish High Court to compel Mr Quinn to give evidence in the case.

The order was sought on the grounds that Mr Quinn is an Irish resident.

The court heard that Mr Quinn disputes this and claims he is a resident of the Bahamas and spends only a short period each year in Ireland.

Yesterday, following an application by lawyers acting for Mr Cornec, Mr Justice McCarthy made an order that Mr Quinn give evidence. The process is to be videotaped and transcribed by an official stenographer in accordance with Colorado civil procedure rules.

The transcript and video recording will then be forwarded to the Denver court.

Shane Murphy SC is to act as examiner.

Jonathan Newman, counsel for Mr Cornec, told the court that last July the High Court made orders allowing Mr Quinn to give evidence.

His testimony had been sought as part of the case listed in Colorado, he added.

Those orders were set aside after Mr Justice Michael Peart found that Mr Quinn was not in the country on the date the order was made. Therefore orders that Mr Quinn attend could not be made, the judge ruled.

Mr Newman said Mr Quinn was presently in Ireland.

The court heard that earlier this week the businessman was observed at a property he owns at Hicks Tower, Malahide, Co Dublin, and walking around Malahide Castle.

Mr Quinn is due to give a seminar in the RDS this Sunday, the court was also told.

The court heard that in correspondence Mr Quinn had proposed that he give his evidence in either the Bahamas or in Florida.

However, it had been decided to seek the order allowing for Mr Quinn to do so in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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