IBRC loses out as $5m moved from Kiev account
Money was moved immediately before bank appointee gained control of shopping mall
Seán Quinn: his family owned Kiev shopping mall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Accumulated rent of about $5 million (€3.8 million) from a shopping mall in Kiev formerly owned by the family of businessman Seán Quinn was transferred from a bank account prior to an appointee acting for State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation seizing the building recently.
The money is believed to have been forwarded to a Ukrainian company, Elegant Invest, that was linked in media reports last year to parties close to Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych.
Sources in the Ukrainian capital said that after Rostyslav Levinzon
got control of the books of Univermag, the company that operates the Ukraina shopping centre in central Kiev, he discovered the money had been moved out of the company’s account.
Despite being appointed more than a year ago by a Swedish share receiver acting for the bank, Mr Levinzon was unable to replace the management that controlled Univermag until recently. The company is based in the shopping mall and security guards at the mall prevented Mr Levinzon from entering the building.
The Quinn family has said it lost control of Univermag early in its efforts to put the assets of its foreign property portfolio beyond the reach of IBRC, which is now being liquidated.
Seán Quinn jnr
was jailed for contempt of court for his part in transferring $500,000 from a Quinn property group account to the former director of Univermag, Larissa Yanez Puga. A secretly recorded video of a meeting with Ms Puga supports the family’s claim that they were no longer in control of the mall situation.
As part of its efforts to put the assets beyond the bank’s reach, the rights of Northern Ireland company Demesne Investments Ltd to about $45 million from Univermag were transferred to British Virgin Islands company Lyndhurst Investments. Since then the right to debt was moved on to Kiev brokerage firm Zenit and from there to Elegant, which is seeking to assert its right to the money in the Ukraine.
The State-run bank is continuing its inquiries into the activities of the Quinn family in relation to putting the assets beyond reach. It has found what it says is evidence that shares linked to a property in India were transferred to a company in Switzerland and that an attempt was made to move money from Russia to Hong Kong. The family is disputing the claims.