Quinns to appeal High Court contempt ruling
BANKRUPT BUSINESSMAN Seán Quinn, his son Seán and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn are appealing to the Supreme Court a High Court ruling that they were in contempt of court.
The three were found guilty of contempt-of-court orders restraining them putting assets in their international property group beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank last month.
All three had acted in a “blatantly dishonest and deceitful” manner and were evasive and unco-operative in their evidence to the court, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne had said in her ruling on June 26th last.
The appeal comes ahead of a court hearing today at which Ms Justice Dunne is to consider whether the three men had made genuine efforts to purge their contempt-of-court orders restraining them placing multimillion assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank. Now it is understood they will today appeal her contempt ruling
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne is expected to be shown a video recording that the bank claims showed Peter Quinn and Seán Quinn jnr discussing movement of money at a meeting in Ukraine and showed Peter Quinn was “prepared to lie” to the High Court.
Richard Woodhouse, of the bank, now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, has said in an affidavit the video showed an exchange regarding large sums of money and also showed Peter Quinn stating he was in breach of a court injunction and, when asked would he lie in his testimony, laughing and responding: “I’d have to lie . . . that wouldn’t overly worry me.”
The bank told Mr Justice Peter Kelly earlier this month it was very concerned about the video recording, published in the Irish Mail on Sunday last month, of the January 2012 meeting in Kiev, Ukraine.
That recording, the contempt findings against the three and other matters showed the Quinn family cannot be trusted to honestly comply with court orders restraining the stripping of multi-million assets from their international property group, it alleged.
Ms Justice Dunne last month found the three guilty of contempt of court orders made in June and July 2011 restraining such stripping of assets and stressed she would “not sit idly by” and allow the court’s orders be breached via an “impermissible” asset-stripping conspiracy.
On June 29th last, the judge made a number of coercive orders aimed at reversing the asset- stripping measures and indicated she would consider punitive measures if they failed to comply with those orders by today.
She expressed disappointment there was no acknowledgement by the three, “even at this stage”, of the “great wrongdoing” involved. She was satisfied all three were involved in a conspiracy to deprive Anglo of access to assets in circumstances where they admitted the bank was owed €455 million, while disputing its claim for a further €2.3 billion.
In opposing the extent of the coercive orders, Bill Shipsey SC, for the three, argued committal to prison was “a last resort”.
He indicated there would be difficulties unwinding some transactions as they involved individuals and companies in Russia and Ukraine and said the Quinns were considering an appeal against the contempt findings.
Paul Gallagher SC, for the bank, said its primary aim was to protect the assets via the coercive orders but the court also had discretion, given the “flagrant” contempt and response of the three, to impose whatever sanction it deemed appropriate.
The contempt was “so blatant, deliberate and extensive” in scale the court might feel some punitive element was also required, he said.
The three had offered no apology or any clear proposals to reverse the asset-stripping measures or to resign from IPG companies, he added.