Quinns ask for removal of receiver and lawyers
FAMILY MEMBERS of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn are to seek to remove a receiver appointed over their personal assets and his lawyers amid claims over a possible conflict of interest.
The Commercial Court will hear an application from seven members of Mr Quinn’s family on October 9th to have the receiver, Declan Taite of accountancy firm RSM Farrell Grant Sparks, and his solicitors Arthur Cox discharged.
The proceedings involve Mr Quinn’s daughters Colette, Aoife, Brenda and Ciara; sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland and daughter-in-law Karen Woods. They were representing themselves in court after Irish firm Eversheds stopped representing them earlier this month.
Seán Quinn jnr, who is serving a three-month sentence for contempt, did not attend, nor did his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, who has avoided a similar sentence by moving outside the jurisdiction.
Mr McPartland, a solicitor speaking for the Quinns, said they believed Mr Taite, who was appointed on an application by the former Anglo Irish Bank, and his lawyers had a conflict of interest.
While he did not want to impugn anyone’s character or did not outline the specific conflict, he said the family believe that Mr Taite was being “pointed in a particular direction by the bank” in seeking information about a Quinn company called Bazzely.
The Madeira company, which was owned by Mr Quinn’s children but not controlled by them, was used to amass his 28 per cent stake in Anglo Irish Bank. Mr Quinn was left with large debts after the collapse in the bank’s share price during the financial crash of 2008.
The court was due to hear an application from Mr Taite seeking books, records and documents relating to the Quinns’ financial and tax affairs and their assets.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said the family could not raise concerns and not detail them to the court. “You can’t be prepared to huff and puff; you have to be prepared to blow the house down,” he said.
Mr McPartland said the receiver’s demands would have “devastating consequences” for their case against the bank, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
The case taken by Mr Quinn’s wife and children was the largest civil litigation case before the Irish courts, he said, and there could not be “any room for error”.
The family are contesting €2.34 billion of €2.88 billion the bank claims it is owed by the Quinns. Andrew Fitzpatrick, for the receiver, said their claims were an attempt to delay the application forcing them to disclose details of their financial affairs and to put pressure on the receiver.
The family had not been co-operating with the receiver, he said, while counsel for the bank said that as time moved on, it was losing access to certain material given the loss of memory sticks in a theft from Aoife Quinn’s car.
The Quinns sought a 28-day adjournment to allow new solicitors, Edwin Coe in London, to instruct local solicitors to represent the Quinns.
Mr Justice Kelly, who noted that the English lawyers spoke in terms of hoping to be able to represent the Quinns rather than in more definite terms, said that a week would be sufficient time for the Quinns to raise their objections. The judge said that he wasn’t prepared to preside over a “legal Lanigan’s Ball” with solicitors stepping in and stepping out again.