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.
FOUR out of five Supreme Court judges today agreed the High Court was entitled to conclude there was “outrageous” contempt by Sean Quinn Jnr of court orders restraining stripping of assets form the Quinn’s international property group (IPG).
There was “ample” evidence to justify the High Court finding “beyond reasonable doubt” that Sean Quinn Jnr was involved in a US$500,000 payment to a Ukrainian woman, Larissa Puga, in contempt of those same orders, and it was entitled to jail him for three months concerning that transaction, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly said when giving the majority 4/1 judgment today.
Dissenting, Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman said there was no direct evidence to support the finding of contempt against Quinn Jnr and “no legally recognisable basis” for granting a request by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to jail him so as to put pressure on his father to reverse asset-stripping measures.
The proceedings in the High Court leading to Quinn Jnr being jailed were in the nature of “a summary criminal trial conducted by a judge sitting alone”, he said.
The High Court failed to focus on the specific case made against Quinn Jnr, as opposed to his father and cousin and was not entitled, in the absence of direct evidence of the single charge against him, to lock him up on foot of evidence of a general nature he was “up to no good”.
The legal actions between IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, and the Quinn family are being fought with “extraordinary bitterness” with each side considering the other had perpetrated grave injustices against it, the judge also observed. In those actions, both sides “have questions to answer”.
All five judges agreed the High Court was not entitled to jail Qunn Jnr indefinitely in an effort to procure his compliance with some 30 coercive orders aimed at reversing a wide range of asset-stripping measures when there was no finding against him concerning those other measures. The court has set aside almost all of the coercive orders insofar as they relate to Quinn Jnr.
The court today delivered judgments outlining the reasons for its 4/1 ruling last week dismissing the appeal by Quinn Jnr against the High Court finding he acted in contempt arising from the payment to Ms Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, on the eve of the bank’s takeover of that company.
They dismissed Quinn Jnr’s appeal against the finding he was in contempt over the Puga payment and his appeal against the imposition of three months imprisonment for that but set aside her order jailing him indefinitely for failing to comply with the terms of some 30 coercive orders.
The coercive orders were sought by the bank with a view to procuring the reversal of a wide range of measures designed to strip up to $430m assets from the Quinn’s international property group so as to put them beyond the reach of IBRC, which is pursuing the Quinn family over some €2.8bn loans.
Mr Justice Hardiman disagreed and said he would have allowed the appeal in its entirety.
Next week, Ms Justice Dunne is due to review whether Mr Quinn, his father and cousin Peter Darragh Quinn have made adequate efforts to purge their contempt. Sean Quinn Jnr was freed from Mountjoy Prison training unit last Friday on expiry of the three-month detention period.
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.
A new Belfast-based legal team asked the court for more time to prepare a defence for the bankrupt businessman.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said it was up to the prison authorities to decide on Mr Quinn Jnr’s release time as it was not a matter for the court.
Sean Quinn Junior has lost his Supreme Court appeal by a four to one majority against a High Court‘s decision jailing him almost three months ago for contempt of orders restraining the stripping of multi-million property assets.
The majority Sureme Court ruled today that Quinn jnr was properly jailed for a three month period which is due to expire on Friday next.
It also indicated the former Anglo Irish Bank could reapply to the High Court to jail Mr Quinn for a longer period on foot of the finding he had acted in contempt of court orders via his involvement in the making of a US$500,000 payment to the general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine.
The majority court found, while the High Court was entitled to jail Mr Quin for three months on foot of the contemot finding in relaiton to the Puga payment, it was not entitled to make some 28 coercive orders against him restraining several other asset stripping measures. His layers had argued there was no evidence that Quinn Jnr was involved in the other measures.
The Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell and Mr Justice Liam McKechnie constituted the majority court while Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman dissented and said he would have allowed Quinn jnr’s appeal in its entirety.
Quinn jnr was jailed on July 20th last by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne following her findings he acted in contempt of court orders restraining stripping of up to $430m assets from the Quinn family’s international property group and also failed to reverse a series of asset-stripping steps.
The four day appeal hearing concluded last week and the matter was listed today for ruling in the Supreme Court. The court will give the full reasons for its decision in a written judgment later.
Lawyers for Quinn jnr applied to the Supreme Court yesterday for an order directing that he may attend court this morning for the ruling and he was in court today with his wife Karen Woods and sisters Colette and Aoife and brothers in law Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly.
Irish Bank Resolution Corporation chief executive Mike Aynsley was also in court with Richard Woodhouse of IBRC, which is pursuing the Quinn family over loans totalling some €2.8bn.
During the appeal, Quinn jnr’s lawyers argued that IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank, had failed to outline exactly what he was being held in prison for and had conceded there was “no direct evidence” to support the finding of contempt against him.
The bank contended “a chain of events” and 30 pieces of circumstantial evidence supported the High Court’s “common sense” finding Mr Quinn participated in a US$500,000 payment on foot of which he was found in contempt.
Quinn jnr attended all four days of the appeal and returned to Mountjoy Prison last Wednesday when the appeal concluded.
Last June, Ms Justice Dunne ruled he was in contempt of court orders of June and July 2011 restraining stripping of assets on the basis of his participation in a US$500,000 payment to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, on the eve of that company’s takeover by the bank in August 2011.
The judge later made 30 coercive orders aimed at unwinding asset-stripping measures and, after finding Sean Quinn jnr, his father and cousin Peter failed to comply with those, jailed Quinn jnr and Peter Quinn but did not jail Sean Quinn snr so he could take steps to achieve compliance.
Peter Quinn did not attend court on July 20th and a warrant for his arrest remains unexecuted while he continues to live in Northern Ireland. All three Quinns said they could not reverse the asset stripping on grounds including matters had passed out of their control to Russian lawyers and others. The contept matter is due for review by Ms Justice Dunne on Friday.
THE daughters of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have asked the former Anglo Irish Bank to attend 11th hour mediation talks to settle their differences — and avoid their father being sent to jail.
Mr Quinn’s daughters and other family members whose assets have been frozen by court order have privately asked Anglo — now renamed the IBRC — to try to resolve many of the issues in the aggravated dispute in out-of-court talks.
Ciara Quinn, one of Mr Quinn’s five daughters, had previously declared the family would win its “war” with the State-owned lender, which is pursuing her and her siblings for more than €2bn in unpaid loans.
The Quinn family is challenging the legality of the loans in a case due to begin next year.
Mr Quinn and his wife Patricia, whose only son Sean Quinn Jnr is serving a three-month jail sentence for contempt, wept as supporters cheered Ciara Quinn’s apparent declaration of war at a weekend rally in Cavan.
The Quinn daughters and other family members, including Sean Quinn Jnr’s wife Karen Woods, Ciara Quinn’s husband Niall McPartland and Aoife Quinn’s husband Stephen Kelly, face tough sanctions if they do not comply with onerous court orders to disclose their financial affairs.
Members of the Quinn family subject to the wide-ranging freezing orders must disclose all of their assets, all bank accounts and any documentation relating to a scheme to put up to €500m worth of Quinn family assets beyond the IBRC’s reach.
The family is said to be devastated that the IBRC, who would not comment on the proposed talks, would not agree to mediation. But it is unclear how these disclosure orders could be mediated as they are issued by the courts.
Sean Quinn Snr is set to find out on Friday if he will face jail for breaking court orders not to interfere with the family’s international property group (IPG).
The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on an appeal by Sean Quinn Jnr against his imprisonment for contempt of court and both sides may seek a postponement of Sean Quinn Snr’s sentence pending the outcome of the appeal.
Sunday’s rally in Ballyconnell has cemented public support in the border for the Quinn family, but it has attracted condemnation from senior political figures including Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan.
Mr Quinn’s brother Peter Quinn called the media “bastards”, in a speech listing the family’s grievances against Anglo at the event.
Mr Flanagan said the language used by Mr Quinn “belongs in the gutter”.
“Mr Quinn is happy to be seen in public in Northern Ireland with his son (Peter Darragh) who is currently avoiding the sentence handed down to him by a court in the Republic,” said Mr Flanagan.
“Our courts are a fundamental pillar of our democracy and the law must take its course. It is highly unsatisfactory that some people feel that these standards do not apply to them.
A SENIOR Fine Gael figure has accused the brother of bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn of dishonouring the role of GAA president.
“Politicians are not beyond criticism, but the uncouth language used by Mr Quinn does not befit a man who was president of the GAA, one of the most respected offices in Irish public life,” he said.
Former GAA president Peter Quinn launched a swingeing attack on financial regulator Matthew Elderfield and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) chairman Alan Dukes, among others, at the latest rally in support of the family in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.
“The language used by Mr Quinn yesterday belongs in the gutter and dishonours the office of Uachtarain of the GAA, which he once held,” Mr Flanagan said.
“Mr Quinn is happy to be seen in public in Northern Ireland with his son (Peter Darragh) who is currently avoiding the sentence handed down to him by a court in the Republic.
“Our courts are a fundamental pillar of our democracy and the law must take its course. It is highly unsatisfactory that some people feel that these standards do not apply to them.”
Former billionaire Quinn, who faces the High Court on Friday to find out if he will be jailed for contempt for asset stripping, was close to tears in front of more than 5,000 people hometown supporters.
His brother was one of a series of speakers who included his daughter Ciara.
Peter Quinn also used his 40 minute speech to declare that the family will be cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to €2.8bn Anglo debts in “an impartial court free from political influence”.
“Neither Anglo nor the media will break the Quinn resolve, neither Elderfield or Dukes, nor Kenny or Noonan or any of the other bolli**s in Dail Eireann, will ever break the Quinns spirit,” Peter Quinn said.
Mr Quinn and his wife Patricia were in tears as prayers and a poem were read for their jailed son, Sean Quinn Junior.
The family are embroiled in a legal battle with Anglo, rebranded IBRC, over the debts and have taken a counter-case again the bank over a loans deal.
Quinn, his son and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were found guilty of breaching court orders to stop putting up to €500m worth of property assets beyond the reach of the bank.
Sean Junior is appealing his imprisonment at Mountjoy’s training centre, while Peter remains on the run in Northern Ireland.
For all that, Quinn clan throws at Anglo bear in mind Sean Quinn worshiped at the high alter of Anglo. He owned 28% of it via CFDs. The demise of Quinn relates to his failure to unwind a 28% block of Anglo shares held in the inherently unstable CFD method. Quinn was never more than a straw man. The point is not that this man got himself into this mess due to his own arrogance and ignorance. The crux of the problem for many is that they unethically sought to stash this collateral away in a most cynical manner; resulting in the Irish taxpayers having to pick up the tab for their sins. This is simply indefensible. It was a shame yesterday to see approx 6000 people exploited by the Gombeen rhetoric of Quinn and his supporters.
Former billionaire had ‘no recollection’ of getting €1m
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is investigating millions spent by former billionaire Sean Quinn Snr using his credit card, flying his company jet and helicopter, and other benefits-in-kind he may have received leading the Quinn Group.
The probe by the UK taxman is looking at Quinn’s spending over the five years 2005 to 2010 as it attempts to determine what personal perks the now bankrupt entrepreneur availed of and if tax was payable on them.
The Sunday Independent has previously revealed how Quinn paid for items from wedding cakes to premium sports TV subscription bills to the mortgage on his home by putting the bill through his company’s books. James Morrissey, a former spokesperson for Mr Quinn, previously described such payments as “commonplace in business”. The decision by HM Revenue to submit numerous questions to Mr Quinn’s official assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane, suggests it may not agree.
It has already delivered a discovery assessment setting out its concerns to Mr Lehane who in turn has asked Mr Quinn for his response.
Mr Quinn has responded at length but said he was hampered in his response by both lack of professional qualifications and the fact that his former empire, the Quinn Group, now had all his records.
“Down over the years, I always concentrated on building the Quinn Group business at a high level and I never got involved in the detail of my personal tax affairs,” Mr Quinn told Mr Lehane. Mr Quinn said he relied on his group’s accounts department and his auditors/tax advisers PWC to take care of such matters.
“I invariably took it for granted that those involved would ensure that all of my tax affairs were fully in order each year and I never had any reason to doubt that the situation would be otherwise,” Mr Quinn wrote.
Mr Lehane also quizzed Mr Quinn on what his income actually was. Mr Quinn said he believed he earned £75,000 a year from 2007 and 2010, a minuscule sum relative to the size of the group. Mr Lehane said he believed from analysis of Mr Quinn’s tax returns that he was effectively earning between €142,000 and €453,000 during these years.
Mr Lehane also queried an apparent payment of €1m to Mr Quinn from Quinn Quarrying and Concrete (QQC) which he said had been made in 2004. Mr Quinn said he had “no recollection,” of being paid €1m by QQC in 2004 and that this payment “seems absolutely outrageous”.
“I have no idea as to how this amount was arrived at,” Mr Quinn said.
Mr Quinn said he had no records of his company jet and helicopter usage as these were held by the Quinn Group, which he no longer controlled.
“In general terms, I can state that my usage of the company jet and helicopter was in the course of company business,” Mr Quinn said. Mr Quinn said he took only seven to 10 days’ holiday a year and these were “always company related”, as he scoured the world for new ideas or investment opportunities.
Mr Quinn said to the best of his recollection, he only used his credit card for “company business”, so he did not believe he had to reimburse it anything from his personal funds. Mr Quinn said he was unable to comment on whether he had taken any director’s loans as he did not have access to the group’s records.
“I never took any interest in how much I was paid personally by the Quinn Group of companies, and strange as it may seem, I had little or no regard for my personal wealth as an individual down through the years,” Mr Quinn said. He said he believed claims and assessments by HMRC would be shown to have “no proper foundation and are based on information that may have been supplied to them for whatever reasons”.
FORMER billionaire Sean Quinn has been made a “scapegoat”, he has claimed.
He also insisted that he believed he would be jailed.
He again insisted that his family does not owe Anglo the money it is now claiming back, saying that €2.34bn of the €2.8bn loans given to them are “tainted with illegality”.
However, Mike Aynsley, the boss of the Irish Bank Resolution Corp – the new name for Anglo – tells the paper the blame for court proceedings rests with Mr Quinn.
“Sean Quinn is being unreasonable in his assessment of the bank’s intentions,” he said.
“He has chosen to disregard the court process and is progressing down a path of duplicitous action,” he added, arguing Mr Quinn has misappropriated “what are in effect state assets”.
“I felt very disappointed that I had to be put in a position that I had to dissipate assets … that is not in my DNA,” says Mr Quinn, who insists he deserves public gratitude. “There are few companies in the history of the state that have contributed more to the Irish government, taxpayer and people than I have,” he says. “Overall, I don’t think that I owe the Irish taxpayer any apology.”
AN IRISH company owned by a trust set up for the grandchildren of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn was paid $650,000 last year by a Ukrainian company which is part of the international property group the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation wants to seize.
The money was paid into an AIB account in Blanchardstown, Dublin. The payments were made on foot of a contract agreed prior to the High Court ordering the Quinn family to stop asset-stripping the property group.
A second Irish company, owned by the wider Quinn family, was also paid substantial amounts in 2011.
The previously unreported payments are set out in an affidavit of Seán Quinn jnr, filed by him to the High Court in July when he was sent to jail for contempt.
In the document, Mr Quinn sets out certain matters concerning Cranre Property Services Ltd, with an address in Blanchardstown, Dublin.
The company was incorporated in April last year. Mr Quinn’s brothers-in-law, Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly, are its directors, and the company’s shares are held by a Swedish entity, Irish Trust AB.
Mr Quinn jnr said in his affidavit to Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that the company was ultimately owned by the Cranaghan Foundation, a foundation set up for the benefit of his parents’ grandchildren.
He said that in April 2011, the company took over a services contract with Univermag, a company operating a shopping mall in Kiev. The contract was agreed at a time when IBRC was seizing the Quinn Group from the family.
Mr Quinn jnr said he was advised by Mr Kelly that the terms of the contract were agreed between Mr Kelly and Larissa Yanez Puga, who ran Univermag for the family and whom the bank has been trying to depose.
Cranre received a $350,000 signing-on fee on July 8th, 2011, two payments of $100,000 each on September 2nd, 2011, and a further payment of $100,000 on September 3rd, arising from invoices for the months of June, July and August 2011.
Mr Quinn said he was told by Mr Kelly that Michael Waechter, of Senat FZC, Dubai, sourced a company called Letynaya, to act as a property services company in relation to the Kiev mall. Letynaya is based in the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Kelly agreed a contract between Cranre and Letynaya in August 2011, according to Mr Quinn. As part of this contract, Letynaya was to be paid €320,000 by Cranre, which it was in November 2011.
Since then, he said, the family has ended its role with Univermag and has sought the return of some of the money paid to Letynaya. “Letynaya refused this request,” Mr Quinn said in his affidavit.
He said the balance of the money that remained with Cranre “was used to pay general offi
The following evidence emerged from the high court yesterday.
Family members were to receive up to € 7. 5m each if injured or an assassination attempt happened whilst employed by the Russian Companies.
Employment contracts worth up to €36m each were signed.
In addition, substantial annual wages up to €560,000 each with a wide range of benefits
The above evidence was comes from the deliberately smashed computers in their Russian office.
The destruction of the computer happened just a day or so after the High Court made restraining orders against the Quins.
Other emails showed that Sean Quinn Jnr was still dealing with property management issues for these Russian companies, months after the Quinns told the High Court, they had lost control of those companies.
Counsel said the Quinns had given “utterly false” evidence in the High Court contempt proceedings about not being in control of the Russian compnies