Court told of $15m ‘cash extraction’ Quinn link
Alleged extraction part of scheme to put €455m in Quinn group assets beyond reach of IBRC
Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted IBRC liquidator Kieran Wallace interim orders.
A company connected to an advisory firm to the family of businessman Sean Quinn is allegedly behind the “cash extraction” of some $15 million (€12.26 million) from an Indian company in a number of bogus transactions, it has been claimed at the Commercial Court.
The alleged extraction is part of a scheme designed to put $455 million in Quinn group assets beyond the reach of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), it is claimed.
On Monday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted IBRC liquidator Kieran Wallace interim orders appointing a receiver over shares in the Indian company, Macksoft Tech Pty, which was recently the subject of insolvency proceedings in India taken by a Quinn firm there.
Mr Wallace claims Macksoft’s shares are held by a Dubai-registered company, Mecon FZE, whose controlling shareholder, Willem Smit, is the principal of Senat Legal Consultancy which, Mr Wallace alleges, has been an adviser to members of the Quinn family.
In 2012, the High Court granted orders prohibiting members of the Quinn family and a number of companies, including Mecon, dissipating assets within the Quinn international property group (IPG).
Mr Wallace claims evidence has come to light which shows Mecon has breached the terms of those 2011 injunctions, which also ultimately led to the jailing of Sean Quinn and his son Sean Quinn jnr for contempt in failing to obey orders preventing asset stripping of the IPG.
He claims information obtained from the Indian insolvency proceedings of Macksoft shows Mecon entered into a number of bogus transactions with companies including Minerali Holdings Pvt, Minerali FZE, Senat FZC, Isaad FZE and Cresco Legal Consultancy FZ-LLP.
The sole purpose of these was to “extract many millions of dollars from Macksoft, effectively dissipating its assets and value, contrary to the terms of the 2012 injunctive orders”, it is claimed.
Principal among those transactions was the stripping of some $12.5 million from Macksoft, through an account of a Hong Kong-registered firm called Orient Guide Investments and on to a bank account in the name of a UAE company associated with Senat FZC and Isaad FZE. Orient was until 2011 beneficially owned by Michael Waechter, against whom IBRC is also bringing its case.
Bogus software licences
The alleged stripping of Macksoft assets was done under the guise of bogus and concocted software licence agreements, Mr Wallace said. However, the Indian insolvency practitioner dealing with the Macksoft proceedings, said he has seen no evidence that Macksoft – a property owning company – received any software, “much less software that might have cost $12.5 million”, he added.
Mr Wallace contends it is their case that the Senat defendants played a central role in devising, implementing and effecting the scheme related to Macksoft and that it is “impossible to differentiate between Senat and Mecon”.
Mr Wallace says it has been IBRC’s case since 2011 that Mecon is ultimately beneficially owned by or on behalf of the Quinn family and controlled for its benefit. In light of the latest new information, it was his belief this was either still the case or some mechanism has been put in place to enable the Quinns obtain a benefit from Mecon’s assets.
In applying for the appointment of solicitor Colm McCarthy as receiver over the Macksoft shares, Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC, said this was a most serious development and needed to be dealt with urgently.
Jarlath Ryan, for Senat, opposed the granting of interim orders and asked for three weeks to put in replying affidavits. His clients would denying the allegations, counsel said.
Larry Brennan, solicitor for the Quinn personal defendants, said that while his clients were not party to this latest case by IBRC, they were notice parties and they would be seeking to refute the allegations against them contained in Mr Wallace’s affidavit.
Mr Justice McGovern said he was satisfied to appoint Mr McCarthy as receiver until the case returns next month. He also granted interim orders against Senat and Mr Waechter preventing them, or their agents, taking direct or indirect steps in the disposal or sale of any of the Macksoft assets.