‘Huge’ sums entered accounts of Ciara Quinn’s children
IBRC claim accounts were not maintained for the benefit of the children
Ciara Quinn pictured with her brother Seán Quinn junior.
A receiver appointed over assets of members of the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has told the Commercial Court “huge” six-figure sums passed in and out of accounts held in the joint names of Ciara Quinn and some of her children during 2011 and 2012.
The Quinns argue those sums have “nothing whatever” to do with assets of their international property group (IPG) or any assets the subject matter of legal proceedings between them and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace said in an affidavit an analysis of the accounts, disclosed by the Quinns in autumn 2012, showed they were “not maintained for the benefit of the children in question” and involved “extraordinary transactions” whereby vast amounts of money were being channelled in and out of the children’s accounts”.
In an affidavit, Aoife Quinn said the monies lodged to the credit of the accounts came from Cranaghan Property Management Ltd, Quinn Windfarm Ltd and Snugborough and IBRC “well knew” those companies had no connection to the legal action.
Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, for receiver Declan Taite, said today an explanation was sought for the “huge” transactions from Ciara Quinn but one was only recently provided.
The receiver had sought an explanation why accounts jointly held with children were used for “such an enormous level” of transactions to national and international accounts.
Despite the court stating the Quinns should co-operate with Mr Taite and another receiver, Sharon Barrett, who were both appointed in 2011, the receivers considered the Quinns to be frustrating and impeding their investigations into a range of matters, counsel added.
Ross Aylward BL, for the Quinns, said the accounts referred to by Mr Fitzpatrick were not at issue in the proceedings in which the Quinns yesterday reached agreement with IBRC permitting variations on freezing orders on their accounts subject to various conditions. The freezing orders were granted in July 2011.
Mr Aylward said a suggestion by IBRC that some € 6m passed in and out of the accounts was based on “double-counting” lodgements and withdrawals and the sums involved were “nowhere near” € 6m.
The delay in providing an explanation was a result of “an innocent oversight” and arose in circumstances where the Quinns had to deal with much complex litigation, he said. The receiver had not indicated there was any urgency in relation to providing an explanation, he added.
The payments referred to include a € 735,000 credit payment, dated May 2011, from the account of a wind farm company to an account held by Ciara Quinn and a daughter of Ms Quinn.
Another payment, dated January 2012, was a €320,000 debit transfer to an account in Dubai with the beneficiary name as Market Study Solar Energy. Other payments were substantial six figure debit payments made to lawyers.
A credit payment of some € 320,000 was made in April 2012 to Ciara Quinn’s own account from an account of a company in Dubai.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly was dealing today with an application on behalf of the Quinn children and other members of the extended family for variations on freezing orders on their accounts.
Some variations were previously agreed, including variations allowing for payment of tax bills of some members of the family and allowing Seán Quinn Junior raise a mortgage on his home at Castleknock, Dublin, so as to purge his contempt of court orders.
Further agreement was reached today on a variation which will allow the Quinns regain control of their own cars, and any vehicles they may replace them with, from the receivers.
After talks, the sides reached an agreement concerning the entire variation applications and full details of that agreement will be put before the judge tomorrow.
The Quinns will also ask the judge to allow them personally seek any further variations arising from the costs involved in making such applications in court.
Among the variations being sought include one allowing Sean Quinn Junior operate a bank account for living expenses, subject to making statements of that account available to the receiver. That variation was being sought in circumstances including that Mr Quinn and his wife Karen Woods are expecting a baby in April, the court heard.
The judge said some of the variations sought related to “miniscule” sums which he believed could have been agreed between the sides without the need for court proceedings. He accepted other “more problematic” matters may have needed court intervention.
The judge stressed the receivers were court appointed officers. The fact the main case between IBRC and the Quinns had been delayed due to other criminal proceedings did not alter the requirement to co-operate with the receivers, he said.
Mr Aylward said his side had in correspondence sought to reach agreement without having to apply to the court. Barry O’Donnell BL, for IBRC, and Mr Fitzpatrick, for Mr Taite, said they had adopted a “global approach” to the matter and had concerns about a number of issues.
Mr O’Donnell said his concerns included the “highly unusual” and “high value” transactions in the accounts referred to and what relationships existed between the Quinns and several companies, including one that appeared to have a Latvian director.
In an affidavit, Mr Taite said he had found the Quinn defendants “wholly uncooperative” and to have done all they can to frustrate the receivers. He was also surprised some of the Quinns had not sought to apply to him for the living expenses.
The court heard Mr Quinn had been permitted a monthly sum of €5,273 of which he understood some €2,000 could be used for daily expenses with the remaining sums for mortgage payments. He had also withdrawn monies from his Ocean Bank account, the court was told.