Quinns seek orders to prevent sale or transfer of assets to Nama
Family of bankrupt Seán Quinn claim liquidator not entitled to dispose of assets
Aoife Quinn and her husband Stephen Kelly leaving court yesterday after the opening day of their High Court action
The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn is seeking court orders to prevent multimillion euro assets in the Quinn group being sold off or moved into the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) by the end of this year.
The Quinns claim they are the rightful owners of the assets and the special liquidator of State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, is not entitled to transfer them to Nama or sell them by December 31st next as required by a direction of the Minister for Finance.
IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace, in strongly opposing the “extraordinary” application, said the Quinns had established no basis for orders of “astonishing breadth and consequence” which, he said, would significantly prejudice the bank and the public interest.
He said the Quinns had no claim to the assets taken over by IBRC and their application was pointless in circumstances where the Quinn companies were insolvent when the bank took them over in April 2011.
The Quinns dispute Mr Wallace’s claims and contend various actions by IBRC and Mr Wallace have damaged the value of their companies and cost them millions.
The hearing of the injunctions application opened yesterday and is listed for three days. Aoife Quinn, her husband Stephen Kelly and her brother Seán jnr were all in court.
Outlining the application, Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, said they are concerned, should they ultimately win their action alleging they are not liable for some €2.34 billion in loans allegedly unlawfully made by Anglo to Quinns companies between 2007 and 2008, there would be no money or assets to meet their claim for damages.
This application was prompted by the enactment of the IBRC Act earlier this year providing for the liquidation of IBRC and allowing the State to “expropriate a citizen’s assets” and sell them with “a clean bill of health” to a purchaser or Nama, counsel said.
This was all occurring in circumstances where the Quinns were not subject of criminal proceedings arising from the misconduct of Anglo, he added.
In exchanges with counsel, Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan said it seemed the only assets at issue in the case were shares held by the Quinns in six specific companies.
Mr Hayden said his side had not received information from Mr Wallace as to the precise assets under IBRC’s control and this application was intended to “ring-fence” Quinn companies’ assets pending the outcome of the family’s main action.
Should the orders be refused, his side would consider a constitutional challenge to the “extremely draconian” provisions of the IBRC Act allowing for the Quinn assets to be sold.