Informants may have acted ‘improperly’
Difficult to see how else Quinn information could have been obtained, says IBRC
The Quinn group headquarters in Derrylin County Fermanagh.
The “informants” who struck a deal with the joint liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation most likely obtained their information “improperly”, a court in London was told earlier this year.
The point was made by joint liquidator Kieran Wallace, who, along with his colleague Eamon Richardson, agreed a deal with the two informants that they will get 3 per cent of any undisclosed Quinn family assets retrieved as a result of their information.
Mr Wallace, in an application to the London court to get certain orders, said the IBRC was not in a position to offer the court any assurance concerning the means by which the informants, or their third-party source, had obtained information about the Quinn family.
Improperly“Being realistic, it is difficult to see how such information could have been obtained other than improperly,” he said.
Mr Wallace also said the bank could be confident the informants have nothing to gain unless the information they provide proves accurate and helpful, but “the bank cannot guarantee that the same is true of the third-party source providing the informants with their information”.
The identities of the informants are not being revealed to the courts in Ireland, the UK or the US, Mr Wallace said, because they have what he believes are valid concerns for their safety.
Since the Quinn family lost control of the Quinn Group, in April 2011, more than 30 attacks have been made on the newly appointed executives and on group property, as well as attacks and threats against parties who were considering buying parts of the group. “Anyone in the position of the informants would, therefore, understandably have serious concerns about their safety,” he told the English courts.
AcquittedThe two informants are former clients of the criminal-law solicitors Michael Staines, in Dublin. The firm approached solicitors acting for the IBRC in February of last year, on the informants’ behalf. One of the informants was once the subject of a criminal charge, of which he was acquitted. One lives in the Republic, while the other lives in Spain, Mr Wallace told the London court.
He said as far as he could ascertain, the informants had no connection with the Quinn family.
The informants told the bank about an alleged purchase of gold worth €300 million by a banker acting on behalf of the Quinn family, and the movement of €200 million to an account in the Virgin Islands by the same man. Information discovered on foot of a London court order showed this information was false.
However information about email traffic, sourced from service providers in the UK and the US, seems to indicate the informants have access to material of interest to the bank, as email information they provided ties in with material sourced from a smashed computer server in Moscow, to which which the bank got access after a long-fought battle to seize control of a commercial block there from the Quinn family.
In his affidavit, Mr Wallace outlined how members of the Quinn family had been found guilty of contempt of court, to a criminal level of proof, for defying a court order that they desist in trying to put valuable assets beyond the bank’s reach.
In February, Mr Justice Field, in London, granted the IBRC application and a temporary gagging order. “If no such ‘no tell’ order was made, there would be a real risk that members of the Quinn family might come to know of what the bank were seeking and take steps to frustrate the purposes of the bank,” the judge said. Gagging orders in the UK and US ended last week.
New lowAt the weekend the Quinn family said the IBRC’s dealings with the informants “marks a new low”. “We are simply astonished that a state controlled entity would be a party to such ethically and legally questionable actions,” it said in a statement. The family said the allegations of undeclared millions in gold and cash “are absolute scurrilous lies”.
The family has declared assets of less than €1 million in response to a court order. The bank, the family said, has been “led on a wild goose chase”.