Members of the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn have told the Commercial Court they are at their “wits’ end” dealing with the former Anglo Irish Bank, feel “crucified”, and want a mediation of the bitter legal dispute over the location of millions of euro of assets of the Quinn international property group.
The Quinns yesterday opposed an application by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, for a court cross-examination of the Quinn offspring and some of their extended family to establish if they have disclosed full details of asset-stripping measures.
The Quinns contend they have but the bank claims otherwise. That matter has been adjourned to November 29th.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said yesterday that, while he is a strong supporter of mediation, it was not appropriate at this stage given the bank’s opposition due to its belief the Quinns had not complied with court orders to fully disclose assets.
If mediation became an option later, he would do all he could to assist a mediated resolution.
Barry O’Donnell, for IBRC, said there was “no proper environment” for mediation. Some of the Quinns had sworn matters that turned out to be materially untrue and there continued to be “strong non-compliance” with disclosure orders.
It was wrong to say the bank had not engaged with the family. It had, but the engagement was “unproductive”. The bank had also set out in detail the failures of the Quinns in terms of compliance, he added.
Several of the family were in court, including Seán Quinn jnr, who was freed from Mountjoy Prison last Friday on expiry of a three-month detention period imposed for contempt of court orders of June/July 2011 restraining asset stripping.
Speaking on behalf of the Quinns, Niall McPartland, a son-in-law of Mr Quinn, objected to cross-examination and said mediation was a cheaper and faster way of addressing the issues.
The family had told the bank “for the past year and a half” that “we do not have the assets and we can’t get them”, he said.
“We are at our wits’ end” and in a very difficult position, he said. They had offered to assist the bank in its effort to recover assets. It had not taken that up and the “constant bombardment” of court orders was not helping.
While the Quinns accept they have questions to answer in the general litigation, a Supreme Court judge said earlier this week the bank also had questions to answer, he said.
The impression was being given that it was “all the Quinns’ fault” but there was “more going on than meets the eye” and the bank would not have to answer questions as long as it pursued efforts to jail the Quinns. The bank had not spelt out exactly what deficiencies were being alleged against the Quinns, he said. That was not acceptable as any cross-examination could lead to “grave consequences” such as contempt proceedings and possibly incarceration.
U-turn as Sean Quinn Snr says he will now help Anglo over €500m property portfolio – Irish, Business – Independent.ie
This morning the former billionaire was due to be sentenced at the High Court for breaking court orders not to interfere with up to €500m worth of properties in the family’s international property group (IPG).
But the hearing was adjourned for two weeks after the IBRC (the former Anglo Irish Bank), said “significant new material” had emerged which required consideration by the courts.
New lawyers for Ireland’s former richest man said that the 66-year-old, who has had two major heart operations, wants to purge his contempt and co-operate with the IBRC.
Mr Quinn, who recently parted with his Dublin legal team, was represented in court today by Belfast human rights law firm, Kevin R Winters, led by Eugene Grant QC.
Mr Grant told the High Court that the new legal team had only been instructed this week and requested time to consider the history of the case and the new evidence submitted by the IBRC.
“My instructions since Tuesday and Wednesday are that since the adjournment of the punitive element there has been co-operation [by Mr Quinn Snr],” said Mr Grant.
Mr Grant said that Sean Quinn Snr, Sean Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn had written to the IBRC to explore the potential for mediation with the IBRC.
Mr Grant said that Mr Quinn is now 66 and has had two serious heart operation
He wants to co-operate and purge his contempt,” said Mr Grant who is now also representing Sean Quinn Jnr who has just completed a three-month sentence for contempt of court.
Mr Quinn Jnr, dressed in jeans and a jumper, apologised for his clothing in court – he had just been brought from Mountjoy Prison this morning and had expected to be released last night.
The IBRC consented to a brief adjournment – it wants to consider reasons due to be given by the Supreme Court in Sean Quinn Jnr’s appeal – but the bank said that court orders were not a matter for mediation.
The written judgment is due to be released on Wednesday.
– The deliberate and “cynical” backdating of employment contracts which contained termination payments of over €30m for members of the Quinn family;
– Continuing breach of court orders and the continuing extraction of monies from the IPG
Mr Gallagher said that Sean Quinn Snr had done “nothing” to reinstate overseas properties to the former Anglo Irish Bank.
Mr Quinn was accompanied in court by his daughter Aoife Quinn and sat beside his son Sean Quinn Jnr.
Other family members who attended the hearing included sons in law Niall McPartland andStephen Kelly as well as Karen Woods, Sean Quinn Jnr’s wife.
High Court Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said it was “prudent” to afford time to the Quinns to deal with and contest the new evidence, including new information that a court order freezing a $500,000 payment to a businesswoman in the Ukraine.
The court heard that “significant new evidence” had been obtained as a result of a new bankruptcy receiver being appointed to Finnanstroy – the Russian company that owns the Quinn family’s $180m Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow – the jewel in the crown of the IPG.
The IBRC said that the documents “demonstrated the continuing control” by the Quinn family, of various companies in their IPG.