Quinn lawyers to come off record
The lawyers acting for bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn and his family in legal proceedings against the former Anglo Irish Bank have applied to stop representing the family.
The Quinns are seeking to avoid liability for loans of €2.88 billion made to various Quinn companies by the bank.
The application by law firm Eversheds was mentioned today to Mr Justice Roderick Murphy at the High Court who directed it would be heard by the court on Monday when it is expected to be consented to by the family.
Brian O'Moore SC, for the family, said no complaint or issues had been raised by the Quinns about the fact the lawyers would cease to represent them and the family fully accepted Eversheds could not continue to act.
Mr O'Moore said it was being proposed Eversheds and counsel would continue to represent Seán Quinn jnr in his Supreme Court appeal, fixed for October 2nd next, against an order jailing him for contempt of court orders to put assets beyond the reach of the bank.
Eversheds previously secured permission to cease representing Seán Quinn snr’s nephew Peter Darragh Quinn, who failed to attend court last July when an order was made jailing him for contempt. A warrant for his arrest remains outstanding.
In a statement today, the family said they had been forced to instruct their lawyers to immediately stop representing them due to their financial position.
In the statement, the family said it was "annoyed and frustrated to confirm that due to the financial position we have been placed in as a result of Anglo’s hostile takeover of our companies, and recent court orders obtained by the bank, we have been forced to instruct our legal team, Eversheds, and counsel to immediately withdraw from representing us".
The family said the "disastrous scenario" for each of them had been "strategically orchestrated" by Anglo, who had done everything in their power to ensure that the family's challenge to the loans advanced to their companies "is never heard before the Irish courts".
They were "infuriated" that Anglo, which had seized control of their companies on the basis of these loans, continued to stand over them along with the bank's past management practices.
"We have done everything in our power to avoid this litigation dispute and have tried to reach an amicable resolution with the new management of Anglo, through numerous approaches and proposals, all of which have being rejected. We therefore remain steadfast in our resolve to bring the main litigation to a successful conclusion, and are absolutely confident that justice will ultimately prevail," the family statement said.
"We would like to sincerely thank our solicitors Eversheds and counsel for their unwavering support over the past two years and for their excellent service and professionalism, in what has been a very difficult and contentious case."
In a statement, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation said it would be inappropriate for it to speculate on the reasons for the lawyers' withdrawal but noted the court "has made express provision for the discharge of reasonable legal expenses in connection with the litigation being pursued and defended by the Quinn family".
The bank said the High Court had made orders requiring Sean Quinn snr, Sean Quinn jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn to take steps to undo the scheme to place assets beyond the reach of IBRC.
"Regrettably the Quinns have not done anything substantive to comply with those orders and their claims to the contrary are misleading. IBRC will continue in its efforts to secure compliance and recover these assets for the benefit of the State and by extension the taxpayer," the IBRC statement said.
Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd was wound up last month by the share receiver, Kieran Wallace of KPMG, appointed to the company by the former Anglo Irish Bank, which is owed €2.88 billion by Mr Quinn and his family.
A new holding company, Quinn Group Holdco, was set up to take control of the group and its ultimate beneficial owners are the syndicate of banks and financial investors which were owed €1.3 billion by the Quinn Group and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the new name for Anglo.
The lenders to the Quinn Group and IBRC seized control of the Quinn Group from the Quinn family on April 14th, 2011. Mr Quinn’s five adult children and his wife have issued legal proceedings over the appointment of the share receiver to Quinn Group (ROI) and claim that €2.34 billion of the loans provided by the former Anglo Irish Bank are invalid as they were advanced to prop up the bank’s share price.