Quinn family granted extension
Family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have been granted a week's extension to an application that would compel them to hand over wide-ranging financial records and information to a receiver appointed over their personal assets.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly gave Mr Quinn's four daughters, sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland and daughter-in-law Karen Woods a week to outline their objections to receiver Declan Taite of accountancy firm FGS and make an application to the court to remove him from that role.
Mr McPartland, a solicitor speaking on behalf of the other family members, told the court that they believed Mr Taite and his solicitors had conflicts of interest and they should be removed.
He also told the court that the family members had a new solicitors who were willing to represent them, London law firm Edwin Coe, after Dublin law firm Eversheds stopped acting for them earlier this month. Eversheds came off record for the family earlier this month.
The court was shown a letter from David Greene, a partner with Edwin Coe, in which he said that the firm had no rights to practise in the Republic of Ireland or before the High Court in Dublin but that it would instruct local solicitors and counsel on behalf of the family.
"It will be known that it is difficult for you to obtain representation by any leading firm of Dublin solicitors because of conflicts that arise," said Mr Greene in his letter dated yesterday, September 23rd, and sent to Mr Quinn's daughter Aoife and her husband, Mr Kelly.
"Most major firms have some part in the story which is the subject of the proceedings and are therefore conflicted. We understand that there is a similar position at the Dublin Bar."
The judge said that he couldn't imagine that all of the solicitors and barristers in Dublin would be conflicted and unable to act.
Mr McPartland had sought an adjournment of an application by Mr Taite seeking books, records or documents for each of the Quinns showing their assets and tax and financial affairs, wanted the matter adjourned for 28 days instead to allow the family's new firm of solicitors to engage Irish solicitors in the case.
He said that disclosing the information would have "devastating consequences" on the family's separate litigation against the bank, now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, in which they are claiming that they are not liable for €2.34 billion of the €2.88 billion which the bank maintains that it is owed by the family.
When the judge declined to grant a 28-day adjournment given that the family members already had three weeks to deal with the receiver's application, Mr McPartland sought a two-week adjournment to see if they could engage local solicitors.
Mr Justice Kelly said that they had been represented before and were now unrepresented and that he wasn't preside over "a legal Lanigan's Ball with solicitors coming in and out again". He said that a week should suffice to allow the family to outline their objections to Mr Taite and his solicitors acting in their roles Mr McPartland did not disclose to the court what the conflicts of interest were in relation to Mr Taite and his solicitors, saying that he didn't want to impugn anyone's reputation.
The judge said that the family members must outline to the court on affidavit what their specific allegations were as to why Mr Taite was unfit to act.
"You can't be prepared to huff and puff; you have to be prepared to blow the house down," he said.
Counsel for the receiver, Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, told the court that the family's clear objection was to delay his client's application and put pressure on the receiver.
Counsel for IBRC, Barry O'Donnell BL, said that the family had previously told the court that memory sticks containing information had already been lost and there was an urgency in the receiver's application.
The bank had "very serious concerns" about the disclosure by the Quinns, he said. "As time moves on, we are losing material," he said.
Aoife Quinn told the court that the memory sticks were stolen from her car in Dublin city centre on July 28th along with other material and that criminal charges have been brought in relation to that theft.
The judge adjourned the receiver's application until Tuesday, October 9th to allow the Quinn family members to detail their objections.