Quinn mall linked to Ukrainian ruler
A shopping centre formerly owned by Seán Quinn’s family in Kiev, Ukraine, has been linked to parties close to Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych.
The centre could be worth up to €60 million and is part of a portfolio of foreign assets worth up to €500 million that the Quinn family sought to put beyond the reach of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, even though the State-owned bank had security on it arising from Anglo-issued loans.Taoiseach Enda Kenny raised the difficulties the bank was having in asserting its rights through the Ukrainian courts system, when he met Mr Yanukovych in 2011. “It was referenced, not discussed, and with a full expression of respect for the independence of the Ukrainian judicial process,” Mr Kenny’s spokesman said last November.
The possibility that control of the mall might now rest with parties linked to the controversial president was raised recently by Business New Europe, a publication that specialises in business and politics in eastern and central Europe, as well as in Kiev publication The Left Bank. The possibility is taken seriously by observers in Kiev because a $45 million debt due from the Ukrainian company, Univermag, which operates the Ukraina shopping mall, is now being claimed by a Ukrainian company called Elegant Invest.
The IBRC would not comment on the BNE report. A request for a comment from Mr Yanukovych’s spokeswoman met with no response.
The debt was originally owned by a Quinn firm based in Fermanagh called Demesne Investments. The right to the debt was transferred to British Virgin Islands company Lyndhurst following the family’s decision to put its foreign portfolio beyond IBRC’s reach. The debt has since been moved on to a Kiev brokerage firm, Zenit, and from there to Elegant, whose right to the debt was recognised by Kiev courts in July.