Seán Quinn's son and nephew jailed for contempt
A High Court judge has jailed the son and nephew of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn for three months after finding failures to adequately comply with court orders aimed at reversing measures stripping multi-million assets from the Quinn family’s international property group.
Peter Darragh Quinn, Mr Quinn’s nephew, did not attend court today as required and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Miss Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled later, while punitive sanction was a last resort, there had been an “outrageous” contempt of court orders by Sean Quinn Senior, Sean Jnr and Peter Quinn and she was not happy with their level of co-operation to date to reverse the asset-stripping measures.
In those circumstances, she would grant the former Anglo Irish Bank’s application to jail Sean Junior and Peter Quinn but leave over a punitive sanction against Sean Quinn so that he should take further steps towards compliance.
The bank had said it would not seek to jail Sean Quinn Senior because it wanted him to be available to take steps to unwind the asset-stripping measures as he had admitted directing a scheme to move assets beyond the reach of the bank.
The judge said the imprisoned two could apply to the court earlier than the three month period if they considered they had purged their contempt, but refused an application by Bill Shipsey SC, for the Quinns, to put a stay on her orders pending appeal to the Supreme Court.
The three Quinns had argued in detailed affidavits filed in the early horus of yesterday morning they have done everything possible to comply with court orders, had written many letters and disclosed many documents. They were helpless to do more due to attitudes taken by others, including lawyers and former employees in Russia and Ukraine, they said.
Peter Quinn and Sean Quinn Junior were also fearful of returning to Ukraine due to developments there, the court heard.
Their counsel Brian O’Moore SC argued the bank’s application to jail the son and nephew to put pressure on the “chieftain” Sean Quinn was “mediaeval” but Ms Justice Dunne said, “far from being medieval”, she considered it “a practical way” of procuring compliance.
Sean Quinn and his son were in the packed courtroom but a warrant was issued just after noon for the arrest of Peter Quinn over his failure to attend when the court began at 11am or to respond to phone calls to elicit his whereabouts.
The judge heard a solicitor for the Quinn side was phoned after 10am apparently by a relative of Peter Quinn’s to say he was sick but further efforts to contact that person or Peter Quinn failed. The Quinn’s solicitors had last seen Peter Quinn between 2-3am when he filed affidavits for the hearing and he appeared “okay”, it was stated.
Earlier, the judge heard affidavits and submissions from Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) and the Quinns as to whether there had been adequate compliance with coercive orders made by her on June 29th aimed at reversing the stripping of assets from the IPG.
Those coercive orders were made after the judge found the three in contempt of court orders of June and July 2011 restraining them moving assets beyond the reach of the Bank which is pursuing the Quin family over loans of €2.8 billion.
They dispute liability for those loans but have admitted liability for loans of some €455 million.
Today the bank argued there was a “very significant failure” to comply with the coercive orders and said it believed there should be further efforts to secure the Quinns' compliance with the coercive measures coupled perhaps with some punitive measures.