Quinns may be called to give evidence in Anglo Irish trials
Some members of the family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn may be called to give evidence for the prosecution in the criminal trials of former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick and two former executives of the bank, Willie McAteer and Pat Whelan, the Commercial Court has heard.
As it appears some of the Quinns "are in fact witnesses for the prosecution", they are unlikely to oppose an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions to defer their own action against the bank pending the outcome of those criminal proceedings, Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, indicated to Mr Justice Peter Kelly.
It also emerged today about 250 hours of transcripts of phone conversations dating from 2007 between Anglo, the Department of Finance and the Central Bank (as regulator of Anglo) concerning matters arising from Seán Quinn snr's building up a stake in the bank to 29.4 per cent have been discovered by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) for the family's action.
Those transcripts and other documents were provided by IBRC to the Quinns' new lawyers in late November for the purposes of a possible application by the family to have the Central Bank and department joined as co-defendants in their case.
Mr Hayden said it had only became obvious from the transcripts the "level of interaction" between the department, Central Bank and Anglo. His side was "firmly of the view" there were grounds for joining the department and Central Bank, but needed another four weeks to properly review the material.
In their action, the family contend they are not liable for loans of €2.34 billion advanced to Quinn companies by Anglo on grounds those loans were advanced for the illegal purpose of propping up the bank's share price.
Their case was provisionally fixed for hearing on April 9th but is now almost certain not to proceed at that stage in light of the criminal proceedings and the possible application to join the Central Bank and department.
When the case was mentioned today, Mr Hayden sought four weeks to consider whether to join those parties.
Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC, said the situation was "most unsatisfactory" as the case had been in being since 2011 and the Quinns had clearly not yet decided whether to make the joinder application. Any adjournment should be of less than four weeks, he said.
Mr Hayden said he was surprised by IBRC's attitude as IBRC had in December secured a month-long adjournment of its cross-examination of some of his clients but, when his side wanted a month to examine material discovered in late November, it opposed that.
Mr Justice Kelly said he would grant the four weeks sought but there "must be certainty" about the joinder application when the matter returned to court on February 11th. Any such joinder would "change the whole landscape" and "recast" the family's case, he previously said.
The DPP's application to stay the family's action will come before the judge on January 29th and now appears likely to be unopposed. The DPP wrote to the bank last month saying she believed the family's action raised issues overlapping with issues in criminal proceedings against Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr McAteer and Mr Whelan.
The overlapping issues relate to alleged breaches of Section 60 of the Companies Act prohibiting a company from advancing financial assistance to buy its own shares, the court heard.
The criminal proceedings are due for mention on January 23rd.