Quinns may seek to join Central Bank and Government to case
Lawyers for the Quinn family are considering whether to make the Government and the Central Bank co-defendants in their action denying liability for loans of €2.34 billion advanced to family companies by Anglo Irish Bank.
They are sifting through about 250 hours of transcripts of phone conversations between Anglo Irish Bank, the Department of Finance and the Central Bank (as regulator to Anglo), the Commercial Court was told yesterday.
The calls date from 2007 on matters arising from bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn’s building a stake in the bank to 29.4 per cent. The transcripts have been discovered by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) for the family’s action. They and other documents were provided by IBRC to the Quinns’ new lawyers in late November.
‘Level of interaction’
Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, said it had only become obvious from the transcripts the “level of interaction” between the department, Central Bank and Anglo.
He was “firmly of the view” there were grounds for joining the Department and Central Bank but he needed another four weeks to properly review the material.
The Quinn family contend they are not liable for loans of €2.34 billion advanced to Quinn companies by Anglo on grounds they were advanced for the illegal purpose of propping up the bank’s share price.
It has also emerged that members of the Quinn family may be called to give evidence for the prosecution in the criminal trials of former Anglo chairman Seán FitzPatrick and two former Anglo executives, Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan.
As it appears some of the Quinns “are in fact witnesses for the prosecution”, they are unlikely to oppose a DPP application to defer their own action against the bank pending the outcome of those criminal proceedings, Mr Hayden indicated to Mr Justice Peter Kelly. Their case was provisionally fixed for April 9th but is now almost certain not to proceed then.
Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC, said the situation was “most unsatisfactory” as the case was in being since 2011 and the Quinns had clearly not yet decided whether to make the joinder application. Any adjournment should be less than four weeks, he said.
Mr Justice Kelly said he would grant the four weeks sought but there “must be certainty” about the joinder application when the matter was returned to court on February 11th.
Any such joinder would “change the whole landscape” and “recast” the family’s case, he previously said.
The DPP’s application to stay the family’s action will come before the judge on January 29th and now appears likely to be unopposed.
The DPP wrote to the bank last month saying she believed the family’s action raised issues overlapping with issues in criminal proceedings (against Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan).
The criminal proceedings are due for mention on January 23rd.