New ruling in Ukraine in favour of IBRC

Quinn family shopping mall had debts moved to offshore company

Seán Quinn. An appellate court in Kyiv has upheld a lower court’s ruling that a series of debt transfers worth $45 associated with the Ukraina shopping mall in Kiev, formerly owned by the Quinn family, were“null and void”

Seán Quinn. An appellate court in Kyiv has upheld a lower court’s ruling that a series of debt transfers worth $45 associated with the Ukraina shopping mall in Kiev, formerly owned by the Quinn family, were“null and void”

Sat, Jun 15, 2013, 01:00

BY MARK RACHKEVYCH in KIEV

An appellate court in Kyiv has upheld a lower court’s ruling that a series of debt transfers worth $45 associated with the Ukraina shopping mall in Kiev, formerly owned by the Quinn family, were“null and void”

The ruling has further turned the tide in the state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation’s favor in its effort to restore full-ownership rights over the shopping center as its nearly 93 percent shareholder.

The court’s decision has the effect of recognising an earlier ruling of the High Court in Belfast.

The Belfast court ruled that the rights to the debt were illegally transferred from Demesne Investments Ltd, of which the bankrupt former billionaire Seán Quinn was director, to Lyndhurst Development Trading Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company.

“This ruling allows us to complete the renewal of control over the Ukraina shopping mall and concentrate on business tasks,” said Rostyslav Levinzon, the mall director.

In February, two Ukrainians - Oleksandr Serpokrylov and Dmytro Zaitsev - were found in contempt by a Belfast court for flouting a December 2011 injunction for their role in stripping the mall’s assets via Lyndhurst. The BBC has reported that they are expected to challenge the ruling for which they must pay £15,000 each in six months or face four weeks of jail time for not doing so. Neither man could be reached for comment.

Mr Levinzon added that the shopping centre is seeking to recover $15 million that the mall’s former management had allegedly misappropriated in 2010-2012 during which time the IBRC (since liquidated) was embroiled in a number of legal battles in Ukraine in an effort to assert control over the mall.

“Ukraina’s income stream for this period was transferred by the former management to accounts of companies that called themselves the mall’s ‘creditors.’ We shall seek compensation through legal channels,” Mr Levinzon said.

The former director of the mall, Laryssa Yanez Puga, hasn’t responded to numerous requests for a comment. Since Mr Levinzon took control of the mall in February, Ms Yanez Puga’s whereabouts are unknown. Mr Levinzon said he did not know how to contact her.

In 2012, the Irish courts found that Mr Quinn, his son Sean Quinn Jr. and newphew, Peter Darragh Quinn, were guilty of civil contempt for interfering with the assets of the Quinn family’s former property portfolio, which had been seized by the IBRC. All three were given prison sentences, though Peter Darragh Quinn has yet to serve time as he is outside the jurisdiction.