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IBRC 'trying to grind down' Quinn family

IRISH Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is seeking to "grind down" the family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, it was claimed in the High Court yesterday.

The bank is doing so as part of the litigation between the sides, so as to make them bankrupt and unable to pursue their case against IBRC, Martin Hayden SC for the family told the court.

IBRC's opposition to a stay being granted on a legal costs order made against the family, following the court's refusal of their bid to "ring-fence" Quinn group assets and stop them being moved to NAMA, marked "a change of attitude" by the IBRC special liquidators, counsel said.

Until now, both sides had agreed stays should apply on multiple costs orders arising from many pre-trial applications by both sides, pending the outcome of the family's case in which they argue that Anglo Irish Bank advanced unlawful loans of some €2.34bn to companies in the Quinn group.

That action is parked, pending the outcome of criminal proceedings being taken against some former Anglo executives.

Yesterday, Brian Murray SC, for IBRC, said his side believed, with regard to the costs of this particular application, that the court should not grant the usual stay on the costs orders, on the grounds this particular application had been "unstateable" from the outset.

ARGUMENTS

It also could not have succeeded and should never have been brought, counsel said.

Neil Steen BL, for the receivers appointed over shares in Quinn companies, advanced the same grounds for opposing a stay on costs orders in his client's favour,

Mr Hayden disputed those arguments and said the "ring-fencing" application had to be brought because of the State's decision to wind up IBRC last year.

The winding up meant that, should the Quinns ultimately win their case, IBRC would not be in a position to pay them damages.

In her ruling on the stay issue, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said that while she had not used the word "unstateable" in her judgment dismissing the Quinns' application last December, what Mr Murray had said about that application was substantially correct.

However, she said that she would place a stay on her order awarding costs against the Quinns of this particular application pending the outcome of the case.

One reason was that the Quinns could not pursue their full action due to the criminal proceedings against former executives of Anglo.

Another was that both sides had to date agreed that any costs orders made in the many applications brought so far in the litigation should be stayed pending the outcome of the full action, she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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