Aoife Quinn tells court she spent almost all of €370,000 salary

Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 00:00

Aoife Quinn, a daughter of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn, has told the Commercial Court she spent in a year almost all of her some €370,000 salary paid by a Russian company into her bank account in Moscow but has no receipts.

There was just €6,000 left in her Ocean Bank account in Moscow by July 2012 after she withdrew, by Visa debit card, some €376,000 paid into the account from June 2011, including bonuses of two million roubles (€49,500). Most of the money went to pay legal fees but she had no invoices or receipts, she added.

She and her sisters Ciara and Colette had voted, as company directors, in meetings lasting “five or 10 minutes” at one of their homes in Dublin on April 27th, 2011, to sell shares in four companies in the Quinn international property group (IPG) for a price not less than the companies’ “charted capital” when she did not know what “charted capital” meant and there were no documents before them.

‘Reactive step’

When Mr Justice Peter Kelly asked whether that scenario was “credible”, Ms Quinn said the meetings were “very much a reactive step to Anglo’s takeover” of the Quinn companies two weeks earlier in “an illegal attempt to cover up Anglo’s fraudulent activities” arising from “widespread manipulation of its share price”.

Ms Quinn was being crossexamined by Paul Gallagher SC, for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC, formerly Anglo), to establish if she has fully disclosed all documents and information relating to her accounts and assets.

The cross-examination has been permitted by Mr Justice Peter Kelly prior to the full hearing of the bank’s action alleging a scheme by some members of the Quinn family to move assets in the IPG valued at some €455 million beyond its reach.

IBRC intends to cross-examine all five Quinn children and three of their spouses: Stephen Kelly, husband of Aoife Quinn; Karen Woods, wife of Seán Quinn jnr; and Niall McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn.

The Quinns have appealed the cross-examination order to the Supreme Court. Their counsel, Hugh Hartnett SC, objected several times that questions to Ms Quinn seemed to involve “an extraordinary attempt” to get information for possible civil contempt proceedings.

Ms Quinn denied Mr Gallagher’s suggestions there were significant deficiencies in her disclosure and reiterated she had disclosed all the documents she had when she swore disclosure affidavits. She denied “complete failure” to identify documents she once had but has no longer. She agreed a letter on behalf of the Quinns seeking to vary court freezing orders on their accounts to allow for payment of legal fees by Cranre, a company of the Quinns, did not state Cranre had received a €455,000 payment from a company in Ukraine. That payment was disclosed in June 2012 in documents provided to IBRC by her brother, she said.

When Mr Gallagher referred to documents in which her husband asked Ocean Bank how he could transfer some €100,000 from his own Ocean Bank account in Moscow and €100,000 from his wife’s Ocean Bank account to accounts in the United Arab Emirates, Ms Quinn said no monies were transferred to accounts in Dubai. She agreed the transfer request coincided with a trip by her to Dubai in February 2012.

Dubai trips

She travelled to Dubai eight times in 2011 and 2012 to meet lawyers and others there, made eight trips to Russia and also travelled to Ukraine, Cyprus, Abu Dhabi and Zurich in 2011 and 2012. She denied the purpose of one of those trips was to set up a trust for her father.

Ms Quinn agreed she received emails from Dubai-based Senat FZC, a related company of Senat Legal, containing invoices for legal service agreements related to a Russian firm owned by her husband, including a legal services agreement of August 2011.

Those invoices sought payments of US$1.1 million (€817,000) and $640,000 but she understood they had not been made, she said.

She agreed a trip to Dubai, on September 13th, 2011, predated an email of September 19th, 2011, with an invoice for a legal service agreement. A Russian firm in the IPG paid for the trip and a former executive in the Quinn companies, Gary Conway, went to Dubai but they did not travel together. She agreed the Dubai trips were not for personal business.

She did not know why those emails were sent to her and she passed them on to her cousin Peter Darragh Quinn. She agreed she was in regular email contact with Senat Legal and there was no reference to the legal service agreement documents in her affidavit of disclosure.

The court was told a bankruptcy receiver appointed by IBRC to a Russian firm in the IPG, Finanstroy, had said only a small number of documents were retrieved from what appeared to be a smashed computer in that company’s Moscow premises. Ms Quinn’s documents from other Russians appeared to suggest the server was not smashed but removed.

The hearing resumes on Tuesday.