Monday 11 December 2017

Quinn denies leading plot to put assets beyond reach

Tim Healy

BUSINESSMAN Sean Quinn has denied being the "orchestrator" of an alleged plan to put multimillion-euro foreign property assets of Quinn companies beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Mr Quinn said he "resented greatly" claims by the bank -- now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation -- of breaching court orders of June and July 2011 restraining steps by his family to strip assets from their international property group.

Mr Quinn has agreed there was a plan by his family to move assets out of the reach of Anglo but denies knowledge of, or involvement in, any steps allegedly taken to further that plan after the court orders were made. He was re-examined yesterday by his counsel Bill Shipsey in the hearing before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne for attachment and committal orders against him, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn for alleged contempt of the 2011 orders.

All three have denied contempt. They have said certain measures were taken to put assets beyond Anglo's reach but deny any such steps after the court orders were made.

The re-examination of Mr Quinn, the last of the three to give evidence, concluded yesterday.

Ms Justice Dunne adjourned the case to Thursday to allow both sides to file written submissions on legal issues. Counsel will then make oral submissions which are expected to conclude on Friday when it is believed that the judge will reserve her ruling.

The High Court made the restraint orders in proceedings where the bank claims the family was trying to put properties in the IPG, said to have assets valued up to €500m, beyond its reach.

In separate proceedings, the family claim they are not liable for loans of some €2.34bn made by Anglo to Quinn companies because those loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank's share price.

Among the contempt claims against Sean Quinn senior is involvement in alleged assignment of about $130m worth of loans to a Belize entity for nominal consideration on or after July 20, 2011, and in backdating those loans to April 2011.

It is also alleged he was involved in a fraudulent assignment on or after July 6, 2011, of a €45.2m debt to a Northern Ireland company, Innishmore, controlled by Peter Darragh Quinn, with a view to taking control of a Ukrainian property asset worth about US$78m.

Yesterday, Mr Shipsey told Mr Quinn the bank was suggesting he was the "paterfamilias", the person "orchestrating" things who had put up "a smokescreen" to cover his alleged direction of matters.

Mr Quinn said he was not directing things, was certainly not involved in his family's action against the bank and would only have spoken to his children in "very general" terms about what was happening in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.

There was "absolutely no truth" in the allegations of contempt, he said. As a 65-year-old man with a business career spanning 38 years in which he had never come before a court and was very open in his business dealings, he was very angry this allegation was made. "I resent greatly this accusation."

Irish Independent

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