Inquiries into Quinn funds shift to Pacific tax haven
SPECIALIST INVESTIGATORS operating for the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation are examining whether funds associated with former billionaire Seán Quinn might be located in Vanuatu in the South Pacific.
The string of islands once known as the New Hebrides has an offshore financial services sector that offers tax-haven-type conditions of secrecy.
Corporate investigators Kroll and security firm RMI are investigating the finances of the Quinn Group and the Quinn family as part of the bank’s efforts to secure assets that may be available in light of the fact that the family owes hundreds of millions of euro, if not billions, to IBRC.
Last Friday, Declan Taite of FGS was appointed as receiver over the assets of Mr Quinn’s son, Seán jnr, and his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn. Seán Quinn is a bankrupt.
The three men were recently found guilty of contempt by the High Court after the bank took an action in which it said the trio were continuing their efforts to put assets beyond the reach of the bank, despite a High Court order that they desist.
The evidence heard from Peter Quinn that he had travelled to Dubai to discuss the possibility of a Swiss trust being established to hold assets for Seán Quinn snr’s grandchildren.
An examination of the Quinn Group accounts has also led to benefit-in-kind tax liabilities arising, due to personal Quinn family bills being sent to the company for payment.
The bank is involved in court hearings globally in an ongoing effort to resist family efforts to asset-strip an international group of property holding companies over which the bank has charges. The bank is also seeking to ascertain the location of tens of millions of euro in rent earned by these firms over the past year or more.
The family is disputing the bank’s right to a claim for €2.3 billion which it says was loaned by the bank to the family as part of its illegal scheme to shore up the share price prior to collapse.
However, there is no argument over a further €455 million owed by the family to the bank. The bank has secured freezing orders over assets. The issue is due before the Dublin courts again on July 24th.