Quinns fail in bid to ‘ring-fence’ assets from the State

High Court refuses injunction stopping IBRC moving assets to Nama

 Sean Quinn pictured in 2012. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times.

Sean Quinn pictured in 2012. File photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times.

Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 15:58

The family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn was today refused High Court injunctions stopping the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation from moving the Quinn group assets to the National Assets Management Agency or otherwise disposing of them by year end.

Refusing the family’s bid to “ring-fence” assets pending the hearing of their full action against IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan today ruled the Quinns had only established an interest concerning six companies in the Quinn group and went on to find they had failed to establish any value in the shareholdings of those companies.

As the Quinns had failed to show they would suffer loss if the shares in the six companies were transferred or disposed of, they were not entitled to any injunctions restraining that transfer or disposal, she found.

Two of the six companies – Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd and Quinn Quarries Ltd – are in liquidation and the Quinns had failed to establish any value in the other four companies as of June 2013 last, when the injunction proceedings were initiated, she said.

The four companies are Quinn Finance Holding, Quinn Group Properties Ltd, Quinn Group Hotels Ltd and Slieve Russell Ltd.

The judge also refused injunctions restraining IBRC and special liquidator Kieran Wallace disposing of other Quinn assets or 27 identified properties, including properties located here and in Russia, India, Ukraine, Turkey and the Czech Republic.

If the Quinns ultimately win their full action challenging the validity of their pledges to Anglo over shares in the six companies as security for €2.34 billion loans to Quinn companies, the only property to which they would become entitled to by way of relief was the shares in the six named companies, the judge also said.

The family is claiming damages in the full action and intends also to sue the Central Bank and Department of Finance, in their capacity as financial regulators. Because IBRC is in special liquidation, it appears any damages awarded to the Quinns would have to be paid by the State or realised via a possible unwinding of measures taken by IBRC concerning the six named companies.

In seeking the injunctions, the Quinns indicated, should the orders be refused, they would consider a constitutional challenge to provisions of the IBRC Act allowing the Quinn assets be sold. Mr Wallace argued the Quinns had no grounds for orders which would “significantly prejudice” the bank and the public interest.