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Monday 22 January 2018

Quinns' bid to remove receiver flawed, says judge

Tim Healy

A HIGH Court judge has said the Quinn family failed to demonstrate grounds which would justify the removal of receivers to their personal assets.

Members of the family had sought to remove the receiver appointed over their personal assets by the former Anglo Irish Bank on a misunderstanding of the legal position, Justice Peter Kelly said yesterday.

Outlining his reasons for the court's dismissal last month of the removal application by family members of the bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, Mr Justice Kelly said it was clear the Quinns had a deep-seated distrust of Anglo, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), of the receivers and the receivers' solicitors.

Various Quinn family members had claimed the receiver appointed by the bank was not independent and was biased towards the bank. The family also wanted the court to discharge receiver Declan Taite's solicitors Arthur Cox, alleging that the firm was "heavily conflicted" on grounds including its involvement in the restructuring of Quinn companies.

The judge said the receivers were appointed in aid of orders made by the High Court. The receiver's role is an active rather than a passive one, he said, and is not merely to preserve such assets as the defendants have chosen to disclose. "Rather it is to collect in and preserve all of the assets of the defendants in whatever jurisdiction they may be," he said.

"The Quinns apprehend that information is going to be furnished by the receivers to the bank. They believe this demonstrates a lack of independence which justifies the receiver's removal. I believe this to be an incorrect view."

The onus, the judge said, was on the Quinns to demonstrate grounds which would justify the removal of the receivers. It is not enough to suggest that the receiver will not be capable of acting independently because of a former relationship with one of the parties to the dispute.

Mr Justice Kelly said he was of the view there was no basis established for removing the receivers because of their firm's involvement with aspects of Quinn Finance.

"The Quinns seem to believe that the receivers are not obliged to carry out any investigative work. That is not so. In order to secure and preserve assets, they must first locate them. I do not perceive any impropriety on the receivers part in this regard."

In relation to the solicitors firm Arthur Cox, Mr Justice Kelly said merely because the company had in the past acted for clients whose interest may be perceived by the Quinns to be adverse to theirs was not evidence of bias.

Irish Independent

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