Quinns determined to pursue case denying €2.8bn liability
A DAUGHTER of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has told the Commercial Court her family are determined, with or without lawyers, to pursue their action denying liability for up to €2.8 billion in loans made to Quinn companies by the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The family has been given until September 24th by Mr Justice Peter Charleton to provide “definite and concrete” proposals on how they intend to proceed. The court’s job was to uncover the truth and the actions would not be allowed “float on”, he warned.
The bank told the judge earlier it remained concerned over the whereabouts of an estimated $32 million (€25 million) in rental and other monies from properties in the family’s international property group, over which the bank is claiming security.
Brian Murray SC, for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo), said it wanted information from the Quinns about the money before it would agree to any variation of freezing orders on the Quinns’ accounts to allow €40,000 be paid to their overseas lawyers.
Peter Fitzpatrick, for receivers appointed over assets of the family, complained about delays in getting documents concerning those assets.
The receivers’ concerns had increased after being told computer memory sticks containing documents were stolen from the Quinns three days before the receivers were appointed in July, he said.
When Mr Justice Charleton remarked such theft was unusual, Stephen Kelly, a son-in-law of Seán Quinn, said the memory sticks were among material stolen from his car and that a full Garda report had been made. Some but not all of the stolen material was recovered.
The judge made clear any move to destroy documents would be contempt of court.
Mr Justice Charleton yesterday made orders, on consent of the Quinns, allowing Dublin law firm Eversheds to cease representing the family in two sets of proceedings – the family’s action denying liability for the €2.8 billion loans, and the bank’s action alleging members of the family engaged in asset-stripping measures.
Brenda Quinn, accompanied by two of her brothers-in-law, Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly, said the family was not sure how the case will proceed without Eversheds, and needed time to consider what to do.
The family may seek alternative legal advice, “we don’t really know at this point”.
The judge observed the family’s case involved complex claims that Anglo had advanced illegal loans, in breach of market abuse regulations, and he considered it “pretty close to inconceivable” that their case could be mounted without legal advice.
Ms Quinn said the family was “determined to proceed . . . if that means representing ourselves, we don’t want to do that, but will do all in our power to have the case proceed”. Mr McPartland said the family was not seeking to be evasive or to delay matters.
The coming off record application arose from the family’s inability to fund the litigation, and the family hoped to be able to give the bank some comfort about the legitimacy of funds, he said.
In relation to the second action alleging members of the family conspired to strip assets to frustrate the bank’s claim, Mr Murray said the case began in mid-2011, findings of contempt of court were later made (against Seán Quinn snr, his son Seán and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn), accounts of the family were frozen and receivers were appointed.
The Quinns were required to provide affidavits disclosing their assets by August 13th but they got extra time to submit affidavits by August 27th. While affidavits were delivered, the bank had issues about the adequacy of disclosure.
Mr Murray also said documents in possession of Eversheds were to be provided last Friday, but were not.