IBRC rejects Quinn claims about foreign asset disposal
THE FORMER Anglo Irish Bank has told the Supreme Court it does not accept claims by the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn that more than €430 million worth of assets in its international property group are all gone and cannot be recovered by the bank.
It was “extraordinary” that Seán Quinn jnr, in his appeal seeking release from jail, was saying he could not reverse asset-stripping steps when new evidence salvaged from a damaged computer in Russia showed the Quinns had control of IPG companies, said Paul Gallagher SC, for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo.
He said the undisputed evidence was that to remove money from the IPG companies, the Quinns had engaged in a “deliberate and complex fraud” of those companies which had continued after court orders restraining asset stripping were made in summer 2011.
The scheme was for the benefit of all the Quinns, and Seán Quinn jnr had disposed of a Russian company, Logistika, which had assets of €51 million, for some €500, Mr Gallagher said.
While Mr Quinn claimed that had been done before the court orders and he had nothing to do with Logistika afterwards, the bank had learned he had been directing the operations of the company that purchased Logistika.
The Quinns accepted they owed the bank some €455 million and the bank did not accept their claims that the result of the asset-stripping scheme means none of the IPG assets could be recovered, Mr Gallagher said.
The IBRC was contending the material retrieved from the damaged computer hard drive of an IPG company in Russia showed the Quinns continued asset stripping at the same time Seán Quinn snr, Seán jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were before the High Court for alleged contempt of orders restraining asset-stripping measures.
The new evidence also showed some of the Quinns were handling money from IPG companies, including multimillion rents they had said they knew nothing about, when the contempt proceedings were before the court, he said.
The bank did not know where that rent money had gone and was trying to trace it in legal actions in Russia, Ukraine, Belize and Panama, Mr Gallagher added.
All of this formed part of the “exceptional” context in which the bank was contending a “wholesale breach” of court orders was committed and the order of July 20th jailing Mr Quinn for contempt of orders of June and July 2011 restraining asset stripping was justified and lawful.
Mr Gallagher was opening the IBRC’s submissions opposing the appeal by Mr Quinn against the High Court decision that he was in contempt and its decision to jail him over failure to comply with 31 coercive orders aimed at reversing the asset stripping.
In exchanges yesterday, some of the Supreme Court judges raised issues as to whether the process leading to the jailing complied with the relevant law on contempt and with the Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing the appeal by developer Thomas McFeely against a High Court finding of contempt against him.