Terms agreed to allow Quinn case adjournment
Members of family claim orders freezing assets prevent them living ‘normal’ lives
A dispute between members of businessman Seán Quinn’s family and IBRC over the scope of orders freezing and monitoring their accounts and assets has been adjourned at the High Court.
A dispute between members of businessman Seán Quinn’s family and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) over the scope of orders freezing and monitoring their accounts and assets has been adjourned at the High Court.
State-owned IBRC opposes the Quinns’ bid to have various assets, including their family homes, other properties, certain shareholdings and their family home in Co Cavan, excluded from orders granted in 2012 which froze their accounts and assets.
Mr Quinn’s five adult children, along with Stephen Kelly, Niall McPartland and Karen Woods, (respectively spouses of Aoife, Ciara and Seán Quinn jnr) want to vary the orders, saying they prevent them getting mortgages to buy family homes or loans for cars or holidays and to live “normal” lives.
IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace said it was “impossible” to consent to the orders being varied due to alleged “demonstrable dishonesty” of the Quinns themselves and of an “enormous fraudulent” scheme to strip up to €455 million of assets from the family’s international property group (IPG) and put them beyond the reach of the bank and ultimately the Irish taxpayer.
IBRC still did not know the wherabouts of certain assets and estimates it had been deprived of some $95 million in rental income along with various valuable properties in several countries, Mr Wallace said. IBRC continued to believe “extremely large” amounts of money and assets had been held in offshore locations for the benefit of the Quinns, he added.
The Quinns deny any dishonesty and say they have no control over, and do not know the whereabouts of the IPG assets, including rental income, since the former Anglo Irish Bank, which advanced huge loans to Quinn companies, was taken over by IBRC. They dispute IBRC has any valid security over the IPG assets and deny they have not co-operated with receivers appointed by the court over their assets.
When Ross Aylward, for the Quinns, outlined the variation application to Mr Justice Robert Haughton on Wednesday, the judge suggested there might be “another way of doing this”. He was later told terms had been agreed for the matter to be adjourned to September.
The terms include that the Quinns can receive child benefit and any maintenance payments into accounts excluded from the terms of the freezing orders on condition the receivers are told of the amounts and frequency of such payments.
Ciara Quinn’s salary from a nursing agency will be paid into an excluded account, over which the receiver will have full visibility, and she can apply to IBRC if she anticipates getting payments of more than €2,500 from other agencies.
Without prejudice to the Quinns claim a shareholding of Karen Woods in Jefferies stockbrokers is outside the freezing orders, money currently being withdrawn from that will be returned to the Jefferies account pending further order.
The Quinns will also forward certain proposals to IBRC and the matter will return before the court on September 26th.
Brian Murray SC, for IBRC, said it would bring an application concerning the Jefferies money. IBRC did not accept the Quinns belief that the full hearing of its case against the Quinns and others over the alleged asset-stripping scheme could not proceed until various proceedings involving former Anglo executives were dealt with, he added.
‘Drop in the ocean’
Earlier, Mr Aylward said the Quinns’ assets were nowhere near €50 million, “a drop in the ocean” in the context of IBRC’s case, and were not linked to the IPG.
The Quinns want to exclude from the freezing orders the 20 per cent share held by each of the children, subject to a right of residence of their parents and Brenda Quinn, in their parents’ home near Ballyconnell, the court heard.
Seán Quinn jnr and his wife want excluded their apartment home at Farmleigh Woods, four properties in Dublin which are rented out, and shareholding accounts held with Davy and Jefferies stockbrokers.
Aoife Quinn and Stephen Kelly, who are renting an apartment in Dublin and recently had a baby, want excluded some €82,000 funds they want to use as a deposit for a family home. They and Brenda Quinn also want excluded their interests in three plots of land in Co Fermanagh. Colette Quinn wants excluded her family home at Drumalee, Co Cavan.
Mr Aylward said that due to the freezing orders none of the Quinns could seek a mortgage or seek to remortgage their properties, and financial institutions would not deal with them because of the appointment of receivers over their affairs. If the variations were granted, the receivers would still have “visibility” over the excluded accounts.