Quinn family’s explanations for transactions ‘improbable’

Receivers appointed over family assets claim reasons given lack ‘any real credibility’

Explanations from members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn’s family concerning transactions involving movement of substantial sums between national and international accounts in 2011 and 2012 lack “any real credibility”, the receivers appointed over the Quinns’ accounts and assets have claimed before the Commercial Court.

On consent of the Quinns, Mr Justice Peter Kelly today made orders under which various members of the family are to set out, in sworn affidavits, their explanations for 67 transactions before the matters returns to court on June 30th.

Receivers Declan Taite and Sharon Barrett want sworn explanations because they regard as "inherently improbable" and "lacking any real credibility" the explanations set out in a letter of May 8th last, their counsel Michael Collins SC said.

The May 8th letter was provided to comply with an agreed court order made last February in proceedings where the Quinns had sought to vary freezing orders on their accounts made in July 2012.


Under the February order, the Quinns agreed to explain transactions which they had earlier disclosed, but the receivers claim the May 8th letter did not amount to proper compliance and they want further details. The Quinns insist they have complied.

The transactions at issue include a €735,000 credit payment, dated May 2011, from the account of a wind farm company, now in receivership, to an account held by Ciara Quinn and a daughter of Ms Quinn.

Other payments were substantial six-figure payments made to international lawyers, including €190,000 from an account of Ciara Quinn to Senat Legal Consultancy FZ LLC dated April 30th, 2012, and €300,025 from an account of Ciara Quinn and one of her daughters to Senat of May 2012.

Another transaction was an April 19th, 2011, transfer of €203,307 by Patricia Quinn, wife of Sean Quinn snr, to an account in the name of Niall McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn, and a reimbursement of €205,401 from Mr McPartland to Mrs Quinn of September 28th, 2011.

In their letter of May 8th, solicitors for the Quinns said Quinn Windfarm Ltd and Snugborough Ltd were the source of the May 2011 transfer of €735,000 made to Ciara Quinn’s account due to concerns that those companies “separate” assets might become infected by the “unlawful receivership” of the Quinn Group. Payments were then made from Ms Quinn’s account on behalf of the companies, it added.

QWL and Snugborough were the sources of €320,044 transferred on trust in January 2012 to an account in Dubai, for similar reasons to the €735,000 transfer from an account of Ciara Quinn’s, and those funds did not relate to assets in the Quinns’ International Property Group, the letter said.

This related to a potential investment in Dubai that did not proceed and a transaction of April 2012 involved transfer of €319,953 by way of reimbursement of the January transfer, the letter said.

QWL and Snugborough were the source of substantial payments made to several law firms, including Senat, and of payments made both to and on behalf of the Cranaghan foundation, placed in bankruptcy in 2012, the letter said.

The source of smaller transactions involving various Quinn family members included their employment with Quinn Insurance while some lodgments may also have come from their employment with Russian companies. They did not remember the precise source of certain lodgments, the letter said.

The court heard the Quinns have also provided some 5,511 documents they consider to be relevant and 277,411 documents they consider irrelevant.

Having heard the sides, the judge said he would not decide at this point whether further affidavits would have to be sworn answering the receivers’ latest queries because he could not do so without deciding the disclosure so far was inadequate. No such determination had been made as of now and the sides had agreed to adjourn the matter to June 30th to allow the Quinns to reply by letter to the latest queries and put the May 8th information on affidavit, he said.

The receiver has also expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation provided by Stephen Kelly, husband of Aoife Quinn, as to how a laptop provided by him for analysis was devoid of any data.

Separately, the judge was told by Charlotte Simpson BL, for the Quinns, they "strongly and strenuously" deny allegations made to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation by unidentified informants that instructions were provided for the movement of some €500 million Quinn assets beyond the bank's reach.

The first the Quinns knew of such allegations was from media reports on Friday of matters mentioned by IBRC’s lawyers to the court, counsel said.

Mr Justice Kelly said the Quinns were entitled to see all the material related to the matters mentioned to him.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times