Wednesday 16 October 2019

Victory could well turn out to be pyrrhic

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

WHAT are the chances of the IBRC, the twice liquidated former Anglo Irish Bank, getting €144m from Peter Darragh Quinn?

Petey, as he is known in the wider Quinn family, who spawned his own spoof TV sketch – "Walks along the Border with Peter Darragh Quinn" – following his decision to flee home to Fermanagh rather than face a jail sentence for contempt of court, was the former head of the Quinn family's Internat- ional Property Group (IPG).

Now the humble IPG "employee", who was caught on a secret camera in Ukraine admitting that he would have no problem lying to the Irish High Court, has been hit with a colossal judgment because of the "pivotal" role he played in moving assets beyond the reach of the IBRC.

Like many judgments issued in the courts in the aftermath of the collapse of the Celtic Tiger, the massive debt order obtained by the now hermetically sealed IBRC may be as much a pyrrhic victory as it is a paper victory.

At most, the IBRC might be able to bankrupt Petey in the North, where he'll be home and dry within a year.

The judgments obtained against various Russian companies who, like Petey, failed to enter defences to the bank's claims, may assist special liquidator Kieran Wallace when he sends the troops into Russia to try to recover the lost value of a property empire valued, at its peak, at €500m.

But do the court optics differ far from the reality? Will a moral victory bring the money back to the Irish taxpayer?

What, for example, is the status of the purported deal with A1, a Russian company, to recover Quinn properties?

And what bearing, if any, will the Quinn family's civil action against the IBRC – parked pending the criminal trials of three former Anglo executives – ultimately have on the treatment of those missing assets whose value has been "lost".

The public issuing of debt orders is cathartic, in a way, and are important for public confidence in justice.

The real proof in the pudding of the IBRC's legal adventures will lie in the properties and all important annual rent roll it recovers.

Then we'll have a story worth writing about.

Irish Independent

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