Quinns’ receiver seeks time to consider laptop explanation

Company that analysed the laptop concluded that secure wiping tool was used

 Stephen Kelly pictured with his wife Aoife Quinn. Photograph: Collins

Stephen Kelly pictured with his wife Aoife Quinn. Photograph: Collins


One of the joint receivers appointed over assets of members of the family of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has asked for time to consider an explanation from Stephen Kelly, husband of Aoife Quinn, about why the hard drive of a laptop handed over by Mr Kelly for analysis came to be blank.

Receiver Declan Taite says this is the second issue with Stephen Kelly and devices provided by him. Previously a memory stick was reported as stolen in late July 2012 from a vehicle of Mr Kelly and his wife.

Mr Taite said Epsion, a company that analysed the laptop on behalf of the receivers, had concluded in its report earlier this month that a secure wiping tool was used to delete and overwrite all previous data on the hard drive.

In his affidavit, Mr Kelly said he bought the laptop secondhand via a website and it had not worked despite various attempts by him to make it operational and to clean it. Save for attempts to make the laptop work, neither he nor any other person used it, he said. “In particular, no documents were created on it, receievd or sent.”

At the Commercial Court today, Andrew Fitzpatrick BL, for Mr Taite, said his side needed time to consider Mr Kelly’s explanation, outlined in an affidavit just received.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly agreed to adjourn for a week Mr Taite’a motion for various orders, including orders compelling the Quinns to explain transactions involving the movement of substantial sums between national and international accounts. He had also sought an explanation for the blank laptop.

Mr Taite alleges the family were required from February last to provide the explanation for the transactions but have yet to do so.  He was concerned the defendants were delaying and trying to avoid such disclosure, he said.

The receiver wants explanations including why accounts jointly held by Sean Quinn’s wife, Ciara, and some of her children were used for “an enormous level” of transactions to national and international accounts.

The payments referred to include a €735,000 credit payment, dated May 2011, from the account of a wind farm company to an account held by Ciara Quinn and a daughter of Mrs Quinn. 

Another payment, dated January 2012, was a €320,000 debit transfer to an account in Dubai with the beneficiary named as Market Study Solar Energy.

  Other payments were substantial six figure debit payments made to lawyers while a credit payment of some €320,000 was also made in April 2012 to Ciara Quinn’s own account from an account of a company in Dubai.

In relation to the laptop issue, Mr Kelly had provided two laptops and other devices for analysis by the firm Epsion in late 2012 under an agreement reached between the family and the receivers concerning the handover of computers and devices of the Quinns with a view to ensuring compliance with orders requiring the Quinns disclose full details of their accounts and assets.

Between one laptop and various other devices provided by Mr Kelly, there were some 45,000 documents but the harddrive of the other laptop was blank and overridden by the letter W.

In his affidavit, Mr Kelly said he bought the laptop in question in late 2010 or early 2011 second hand from a private seller on either the “Donedeal” or “Advests.ie” website and believed he paid €50-€60 for it. 

Mr Kelly said he has an interest in computers and had fixed them for friends and family over the years. The laptop was a HP6730b model, about three years old when he bought it, not operational and with no operating system installed.

After unsucessfully trying twice to install an operating system, he tried using generic software programmes to “clean” the comnputer. One of those programmes was “pdwipe”, a programme freely available on the internet.

Towards the end of 2013, because his Dell Latitude Laptop D620 was becomg slow and the operating system Windows XP was no longer to be supported by Microsoft, he tried again to make the secondhand laptop [which had then been returned to him by Epsion] fully operational, he said.

Last January, he installed Microsoft Office and Windows 7 and other programmes which were were now fully functional, he said.

Earlier, in December 2012, in accordance with the agreement reached between the receivers and the Quinns, he submitted both laptops, a mobile phone, two USB keys and three email accounts to Epsion, which downloaded some 45,000 documents from those.  When giving the devices to Epsion, he told it the HP6730b computer was not operational and Epsion confimed that in its report dated May 2nd 2014, he added.

In later correspondence, solicitors for the receivers asked him to return the HP6730b laptop to Epsion to analyse why there was no information on it. He did so on April 25th last.