Quinn lawyers claim cross-examination bid is a 'fishing expedition'
An application for orders to cross-examine the children and other family members of jailed businessman Seán Quinn about their assets and incomes is a legally impermissible “fishing expedition” by the former Anglo Irish Bank, lawyers for the family have told the Commercial Court.
Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, yesterday urged Mr Justice Peter Kelly to refuse the application. Mr Hayden added his side was appealing to the Supreme Court against separate orders by the judge requiring the Quinns to provide details of their tax and financial affairs back to 2009, plus laptops, mobile phones and other devices, to a receiver appointed by the bank. That matter comes before the Supreme Court next Friday.
The application by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, for orders permitting cross-examination of the five Quinn children – Aoife, Brenda, Ciara, Colette and Seán Jnr – and three of their spouses – Stephen Kelly, Niall McPartland and Karen Woods – about their accounts and assets concluded yesterday. Mr Justice Kelly said he hoped to give judgment next week.
The bank alleges inadequate disclosure relating to control by family members of companies in the Quinn’s international property group and concerning off-shore or other companies to which it believes assets were transferred.
It also believes some assets and bank accounts have not been disclosed.
Documents relating to salaries the defendants obtained from IPG companies in 2011 and 2012 are also sought, plus bank statements and documents related to payments to the Quinns’ legal advisers.
The Quinns have strongly opposed the application. Mr Hayden said they had complied with orders requiring them to disclose assets and accounts but the bank, having been told of payments received by some of his clients, now wanted to know where the money had gone when that was not covered by the orders.
The Quinn defendants say they have discovered all documents available to them concerning their assets, including considerable documents provided this week, but cannot at this stage discover other documents in the possession of their former solicitors because of costs issues.
They have also denied controlling companies in the IPG or knowing the whereabouts of rental incomes from those companies, Mr Hayden said. The issue of rent from the Russian company owner of the most valuable asset in the IPG, the Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow, was subject to litigation in Moscow, he added.
All of the defendants, except Brenda Quinn, had said they had bank accounts with Ocean Bank in Moscow but they could not provide bank statements as that bank operates via text messages which they had disclosed.
Shane Murphy SC, for IBRC, argued this was not a fishing expedition but a focused application and all of the defendants had a case to answer as the bank alleged they were all part of a conspiracy to strip assets.
Correction: In the report of the Quinn proceedings of November 29th, it was stated that Colette Quinn withdrew sums totalling €16,000 from a bank account of a Russian company on June 14th, 2012. Those sums were in fact withdrawn from Ms Quinn’s bank account in Russia. It was also stated Aoife Quinn had a balance of €211,679 in her Russian bank account on November 21st, but the sum was 211,000 roubles (€5,260).