Russian firms paid Aoife Quinn €379,000 in 12 months

Fri, Jan 25, 2013, 00:00

A daughter of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has told the Commercial Court she received €379,170 under employment contracts with three Russian companies, which she signed without reading because they were in Russian.

Aoife Quinn said the contracts covered the year July 2011 to July 2012, and her husband Stephen Kelly, brother Seán or cousin Peter would have told her they were employment contracts. Her husband owned one of the companies, Peter owned a second and she was not sure who owned the third.

She understood she would receive a wage but didn’t know what work she would have to do or how much she would be paid when signing them. She had thought she got about €320,000 but the court heard her net salary was €379,170 after tax deducted at source.

She did not keep the contracts, which were returned to the companies. “Maybe I’m unusual but I’ve never kept a contract,” she said. Her salary was paid through Ocean Bank in Moscow and she had disclosed the sums in the Ocean Bank accounts, plus text messages from Ocean about the accounts, as she had never received bank statements from it.

Power of attorney

Her brother Seán was to travel to Moscow to get bank statements from Ocean under powers of attorney signed by her and other family members.

She also agreed she opened four savings accounts in Dubai in late 2011 or early 2012 after legal proceedings were taken in June 2011 by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to prevent stripping of multi-million euro assets in the Quinn family international property group (IPG).

Nothing was ever put into those accounts, which were opened in late 2011 or early 2012 “to have a Dubai bank account”, she told Mr Justice Peter Kelly.

Ms Quinn was being cross-examined by senior counsel Paul Gallagher, for IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, on foot of the bank’s claims she and other family members had failed to disclose, as required by court order, all documents relating to and information concerning any actions taken by them, or on their behalf, to place assets beyond the reach of the bank.

Dubai accounts

The other four Quinn children, Brenda, Ciara, Colette and Seán, Seán’s wife Karen Woods and Ciara’s husband Niall McPartland, will also be cross-examined. Listed for two days, the cross-examination is likely to run into next week.

When Aoife Quin was asked yesterday why she opened the Dubai accounts, senior counsel Hugh Hartnett, for the Quinns, objected that Mr Gallagher was straying into issues to be addressed in the main action.

Ms Quinn said she has no documents related to those savings accounts because she gave the relevant bank statements to her previous lawyers, Eversheds, on foot of court orders requiring disclosure of her accounts and assets. That firm was exercising a lien (claim) over those and some 26,000 other documents of the Quinns, which had been under review by the lawyers, she said.

The court was previously told the lien or claim over the documents was due to issues over legal fees.

She had disclosed all documents in her possession, including emails, plus other documents received by her from other parties as part of efforts to help her brother Seán purge his contempt of court orders restraining asset stripping.

She agreed a disclosure affidavit sworn by her last August stated she understood her obligation was to disclose all documents and information in her “possession, power or procurement”. Other documents obtained after she swore that affidavit were also disclosed.

She said she had a policy of deleting emails after a number of months but never deliberately deleted any document to avoid disclosure.

She agreed some emails disclosed by her had been kept for periods extending beyond several months, including an email dated April 2011 between her and “Sergio”, which was still in her account in July 2012 and which was a response to questions from her, including about opening a bank account.

She agreed some documents kept in her “Swiss box” related to Swiss companies in the IPG and said she had disclosed these.

Tetchy exchanges

There were several tetchy exchanges between Ms Quinn and Mr Gallagher, and Mr Hartnett objected to several questions from Mr Gallagher, saying they strayed into matters to be addressed in the main action. Mr Gallagher insisted he was addressing issues related to adequacy of disclosure.

Some of the questions concerned Ms Quinn’s knowledge of two related firms in the United Arab Emirates Senat Legal and Senat FZC.

Mr Justice Kelly said Mr Gallagher could not probe further as the cross-examination was “not a dry run for the trial”.