Quinns to appeal contempt verdict
THE NEW law term, which begins on Monday, is likely to see more dramatic developments in the ongoing battle between Sean Quinn and his family, and the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).
At issue is control of an international portfolio of properties worth up to €500 million. The bank is trying to seize the properties from the family, which is not able to repay massive loans it took out from Anglo Irish Bank, now part of IBRC.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Supreme Court is to hear an appeal from Sean Quinn jnr against the civil contempt finding made against him in July by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne.
Mr Quinn is currently in Mountjoy Prison. An interesting aspect of the hearing will be whether the bank will be allowed disclose any new facts it has ascertained during the summer.
On October 9th, Mr Justice Peter Kelly will hear an argument from members of the Quinn family that accountant Declan Taite, of RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, and his solicitors, Arthur Cox solicitors, have a conflict of interest in acting as court appointed receiver to the family members’ personal assets.
If that application fails, Mr Taite is expected to make an application that he be granted permission to share non-privileged information he gathers as a result of his work, with IBRC. On October 16th, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne is to sit to be given an update in relation to the ongoing civil contempt case the bank is taking against the family.
In July she ruled that Mr Quinn senior, his son Sean, and his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn, were all guilty of an “outrageous” contempt arising from their continued efforts to put elements of the international property portfolio beyond the reach of the bank after they had been instructed by the High Court last year to desist in their admitted efforts to do so.
Anglo took out mortgages and charges against the properties and the property holding companies that own them, when issuing huge loans to the family.
Ms Justice Dunne jailed Mr Quinn jnr and issued a warrant for Peter Darragh Quinn, who is believed to be in Northern Ireland. The bank did not seek to jail Sean Quinn snr because it wanted him to be available to take steps to unwind the asset-stripping measures implemented by him and his family.
The judge said she was not happy with the men’s level of co-operation in trying to reverse the asset-stripping measures. She is likely to get an update on this aspect of the issue when the court sits to review progress.
Mr Taite was not appointed receiver to Mr Quinn snr’s assets, which are under the control of the bankruptcy receiver.
Earlier this month, the High Court agreed to allow Dublin law firm Eversheds to come off record and cease representing the Quinns in their legal battles with IBRC in two sets of proceedings – the family’s action denying liability for €2.8 billion in loans, and the bank’s action alleging members of the family engaged in asset-stripping.
The contempt issue is part of the latter case.
The lawyers came off record because the Quinns could no longer afford to pay them. However, since then, a group called Concerned Irish Businesses has said it has received pledges of €2 million which could be used to support the Quinns. The family has accepted that it engaged a Dubai-based firm, Senat, to help it set up offshore companies to try and take control of the portfolio of properties from the group of firms over which the bank has security.