Quinn family claims court must lift freezing orders
The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has claimed the insolvency of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation means the courts must urgently lift orders freezing their accounts below €50 million each and preventing them transferring assets in their international property group. The bank’s undertaking for damages on foot of which it got those orders is now “valueless”, the family claims.
Alternatively, the family says the special liquidators of IBRC must lodge up to US$500 million in court to meet any claim for damages should they win the case.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the matter was urgent and he would hear it next Monday. The price of an injunction is an undertaking for damages from the party seeking that injunction and it would be wrong to permit a “worthless” or “hollow” undertaking from an insolvent entity, he said.
Aoife Quinn said in an affidavit it was clear from recent remarks of IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace that any claim the Quinns may have on foot of the bank’s undertakings for damages will rank as “an unsecured debt which Anglo will be unable to satisfy”.
The freezing orders has caused considerable loss to her family and it is “no longer just, equitable or conscionable” that they remain in place, she said.
The orders had led to termination of standing orders and direct debits on the accounts of herself, her siblings and other family members which had led to non-payment of a range of expenses. The “most striking example” was that mortgage payments on Seán Quinn jnr’s home were not paid. KBC Bank had appointed a receiver over that property, she added.
They were unable to contemplate new business ventures or employment, to maintain ordinary banking facilities and were delayed in getting the full legal advice necessary.
The family claims the appointment earlier this month of special liquidators to IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, means it cannot honour its undertaking to pay them damages should it lose its case against them over alleged stripping of some US$455 million assets from the Quinn’s international property group (IPG).
Therefore, they claim, the bank is not entitled to orders obtained so far in its case, including orders of July 2011 restraining them transferring IPG assets and orders of July 2012 appointing receivers over their personal accounts and assets.
When Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, moved the family’s application yesterday, Shane Murphy SC, for IBRC, said he needed to take instructions from the special liquidators.
The full hearing of IBRC’s action alleging family members were involved in a scheme to put assets in the IPG beyond its reach has been deferred pending proceedings against former Anglo chairman Seán Fitzpatrick and executives Pat Whelan and Willie McAteer.