Anglo alleges asset-stripping
MATERIAL RECENTLY obtained from a damaged computer in Russia shows the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn had employment contracts with Russian companies providing for multimillion payments for termination of their employment, including almost €36 million each for Aoife, Ciara and Colette Quinn, €26 million for Peter Darragh Quinn, Mr Quinn’s nephew, and almost €15 million for his son, Seán jnr, the former Anglo Irish Bank has claimed.
Under contracts dated June 15th, 2011, with additions of July 26th, 2011, Mr Quinn jnr’s wife Karen Woods – at the time his fiancee – was to receive termination payments of more than €36 million and an annual salary of about €560,000, the bank has also alleged. Niall McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn, had contracts for similar sums, it is claimed.
Some of the contracts were backdated to make it appear they were signed before a court order was made on June 27th, 2011 restraining the stripping of assets from the Quinns’ international property group (IPG), the bank has also alleged. Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo, says this and other new evidence shows Seán Quinn jnr was a “key decision maker” in relation to management and control of Russian and other international companies at the centre of alleged asset-stripping measures.
Had this material been before the High Court earlier this year in the hearing to determine whether Seán Quinn snr, his son, and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn breached court orders restraining stripping of assets from their international property group, it would have had an important influence on the court, the bank claims.
It has applied to the Supreme Court to admit the material in the appeal by Seán Quinn jnr against a finding he was guilty of contempt and a decision jailing him. It also wants the court to consider a video recording of a meeting in Kiev on July 21st, 2012 which, the bank claims, shows Seán Quinn jnr was involved in an asset-stripping scheme in the Ukraine.
Counsel for Seán Quinn jnr said yesterday they were not opposing the bank’s application to admit the new material.
In an affidavit, Richard Woodhouse of IBRC, formerly Anglo, said “significant” new documents had been obtained by the bankruptcy administrator appointed in late July to Finansstroy, a key Russian firm in the Quinns’ IPG, from a damaged hard drive from that company’s computer.
When the administrator took possession of the Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow, owned by Finansstroy and the most valuable property in the IPG, the computer server and software were seriously damaged and it was clear many documents had been removed immediately before he took possession of the building, the bank said.
The administrator arranged for a search of the computer harddrive which identified materials showing, among other matters, Seán Quinn jnr was directing, or was aware of, the extraction of funds from IPG companies in breach of a court order of June 27th, 2011, Mr Woodhouse said.
He said the new documents spanned the period from July 2011 to August 31st, 2012 and showed the extent to which Seán Quinn jnr exercised day-to-day control until he was jailed last July over companies in the IPG, despite his claims to the contrary.
The material also showed the extent to which Seán Quinn jnr was prepared to mislead the court regarding his role in IPG companies, Mr Woodhouse said.
The material showed Mr Quinn jnr was aware of the “deliberate backdating” to June 15th, 2011 of employment contracts generated on July 27th, 2011 in favour of members of the Quinn family so it would appear they were created before the order of June 27th, 2011, he said.
An email of July 25th, 2011, from Stephen Kelly, brother in law of Seán Quinn jnr, was copied to Seán Quinn jnr, and had requested that Russian employment contracts documents for members of the Quinn family be backdated, he said.