Thursday 21 March 2019

Quinns ordered to hand over passwords and personal data

Tim Healy

FAMILY members of jailed bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have been ordered to provide a receiver with personal data in a bid to get information related to their financial and tax affairs.

It also emerged at the Commercial Court that there will be no application to have former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick or former Anglo executives Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer give evidence in the Quinn family's action disputing their liability for some €2.34bn loans advanced to Quinn companies.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday ruled that Declan Taite, appointed receiver last July over the personal assets of various Quinn family members at the request of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), is entitled to the passwords, computers, phones and other material relating to the Quinns' assets so as to elicit information dating from June 27, 2009.

That was the date proceedings were brought by IBRC, formerly Anglo, aimed at restraining stripping of assets worth up to US$430m (€338m) from the Quinn family's international property group (IPG).

The receiver was entitled to the orders on grounds including admitted asset-stripping, findings of contempt against three Quinn family members and findings that a "mesmerisingly complex" asset-stripping scheme continued after court orders, the judge said.

While the receiver had sought orders with no time limits, the judge said unlimited orders were not appropriate and the orders would not apply to material dated before June 27, 2009. He was also building various protections into the orders so as to protect personal data of the Quinns, he said.

He refused an application by Niall McPartland, for the Quinns, to stay his order pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. Mr McPartland said he wanted to appeal on grounds that his side's personal and constitutional rights to privacy were being breached.

Yesterday's orders apply to the five Quinn children -- Aoife, Brenda, Ciara, Colette and Sean Jnr; three spouses, Mr McPartland, Stephen Kelly and Karen Woods; and Peter Darragh Quinn, Sean Quinn Snr's nephew. They strongly opposed the receiver's application.

After Aoife Quinn told the judge she was very concerned personal documents such as family photos and medical records would be available generally within the receiver's firm and that of his solicitors, the judge stressed the information must only be seen by the receiver and a named solicitor.

It would be wrong for such material to be "doing the rounds", and any application for others to see it must be made to the court, he stressed.

He noted undertakings by the receiver and IBRC to the effect that only relevant information would be passed to IBRC to be used only in the bank's proceedings aimed at protecting the IPG assets.

Concerns

The Quinns had expressed concerns that information could be passed to the bank which could assist its defence of their action.

The judge approved a protocol proposed by the receiver for obtaining and categorising information from the phones and computers. It involves material being downloaded in the presence of the Quinn defendants by a representative of a company hired by the receiver.

That material will then be categorised by the receiver into three categories -- relevant and not privileged, irrelevant, and apparently privileged. Disputes over privilege issues will be decided by the court.

Irish Independent

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