Quinns put on brave face as fresh allegations made
SEÁN QUINN Snr entered the packed courtroom wearing the controlled, serene mask of the accomplished actor. If he felt like the haunted 66-year-old who had had – in the words of his brand new barrister, Eugene Grant – two “quite serious heart operations” and was “dealing with the risk to his liberty”, he showed no sign of it.
For one thing, he had eschewed the precaution of bringing the little overnight bag usually toted by hapless defendants expecting the day to end in jail. Then again, since the old defence team had departed at the end of August and the new one, for unexplained reasons, was appointed only a couple of days ago, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne of the High Court was always likely to give an adjournment in his contempt of court hearing.
“Apart from those, there are 20 more boxes”, pleaded Grant, indicating a pile of files and asking for four weeks. The judge split the difference with Paul Gallagher for the IBRC (formerly Anglo-Irish Bank). Grant got two weeks.
Still, it was better than jail. And the Quinn patriarch got to take his son, Seán Óg as the new barrister called him, home with him after three months in Mountjoy. Shortly after noon, Seán jnr walked out of the Four Courts holding hands with Karen, his wife. They made no comment before getting into an SUV together. Free for now.
Earlier, straight from jail – where by all accounts, he was a well-liked figure among prison officers and inmates, helpful and devoid of airs and graces – Seán jnr sat between his father and sister Aoife. He was unshaven and wearing well-worn blue jeans and a black Ralph Lauren fleece over a white T-shirt.
The elephant in the room was his first cousin, Peter Darragh Quinn, spared the unpleasantness of an arrest warrant living at home across the Border. He was unrepresented in court. “Any appearance by Peter Darragh Quinn?”, called the judge less than hopefully.
But answer came there none.
Occasional animated nodding and eye action occurred between father and daughter as Gallagher talked of destroyed computer files and “cynically backdated” documents. The sense of urgency from the bank’s barrister was palpable. Things were happening, he said, the bank only finds out afterwards, then the legal landscape has changed.
Last week, concerns were heightened when the Ukrainian courts lifted a freezing order on a $500,000 payment out of Quinn Properties Ukraine to its general director, Larissa Puga. All three Quinns had been found in contempt of court in relation to that payment, but nothing had been done, he said, to repay the money.
The bank also had new evidence salvaged from a deliberately damaged computer server of a Russian company, he said, showing the Quinns were in control of IPG companies well into this year.
Afterwards, clutching a legal box file, Seán Quinn shook hands with his dozen or so supporters. A wary priest refused to give his name, saying “it’ll come out in the wash later on”. A few were there because they had bank cases pending against them and “felt sorry” for him.
Mostly, they were old mates from around home who played football with him 40 years ago : “We only heard one side of the story today”.