Quinns 'continued asset-stripping'
The former Anglo Irish Bank has told the Supreme Court today it does not accept claims by the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn that more than €430 million in assets in their international property group (IPG) are all gone and cannot be recovered.
The undisputed evidence was that, in order to remove monies from IPG companies, the Quinns had engaged in a "deliberate and complex fraud" of those companies which continued after court orders restraining asset stripping were made in summer 2011, the bank claims.
The Quinns had accepted they owed the bank some €455 million but were claiming the result of an asset-stripping scheme devised by them meant none of the IPG assets could be recovered, Paul Gardiner SC, for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, said.
The bank did not accept this, and new material salvaged from a damaged computer hard drive in Russia showed the Quinns continued asset-stripping at the same time that Seán Quinn snr his son Seán jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were before the High Court for alleged contempt of orders restraining asset-stripping measures, he said..
The new evidence also showed some of the Quinns were handling monies from IPG companies, including multi-milion rents which they said they knew nothing about, at the same time the contempt proceedings were before the court, he said.
The bank does not know where all that rent money has gone and is trying to trace it in legal actions in Russia, Ukraine, Belize and Panama, Mr Gardiner added.
All of this formed part of the context in which the bank was contending the orders jailing Seán Quinn jnr for contempt of the June/July 2011 orders restraining asset stripping were justified and lawful, counsel submitted.
The evidence showed the Quinns were in control of companies that they said they knew nothing about and that monies were being transacted and removed and rents collected, he said.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court was told Seán Quinn jnr should not have been jailed on the basis of a view he was part of an overall strategy by his family to put multi-million assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank in contempt of court orders, the Supreme Court was told today.
It was not permissible in law to jail Seán Quinn jnr for failure to comply with 30 court orders aimed at reversing steps by the Quinn family to strip assets from their international property group, his counsel, Brian O'Moore SC, said. His client could not reverse those measures, counsel added.
Seán Quinn jnr was found in contempt of orders restraining asset-stripping on one issue alone - the making of a $500,000 payment to the general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine (QPU) - and the High Court was not entitled in law to jail him for failing to reverse other asset-stripping measures, it was also argued.
Before he could be jailed under the 30 coercive orders, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) had to prove every allegation of contempt in relation to other alleged asset-stripping measures covered by those coercive orders, Mr O'Moore said.
The bank had argued proving every allegation would be expensive and inconvenient and had also asked the High Court to take into account there were other court proceedings aimed at protecting IPG assets in Russia and Ukraine but such arguments provided no legal basis for jailing his client, counsel said.
Mr O'Moore also said he was not aware of any precedent for jailing his client so as to put pressure on his father to reverse the asset-stripping steps.