Quinns oppose attempts to stop them getting living expenses

It is alleged the payments are no longer necessary because financial circumstances of a number of family members have changed ‘significantly’

It is alleged some of the Quinns were since autumn 2015 employed by a company, SMC Products Ltd, incorporated in 2013 and controlled until recently by relatives of the Quinns, while another, Ciara Quinn, has a part-time job with a nursing services agency.

It is alleged some of the Quinns were since autumn 2015 employed by a company, SMC Products Ltd, incorporated in 2013 and controlled until recently by relatives of the Quinns, while another, Ciara Quinn, has a part-time job with a nursing services agency.

 

Members of Sean Quinn’s family are opposing an application for court orders to stop them receiving any further living expenses out of accounts controlled by receivers appointed over assets linked to Quinn companies.

It is alleged the living expense payments from the relevant accounts are no longer necessary because the financial circumstances of a number of family members have changed “significantly” since the living expense orders were made in 2012.

It is alleged some of the Quinns were since autumn 2015 employed by a company, SMC Products Ltd, incorporated in 2013 and controlled until recently by relatives of the Quinns, while another, Ciara Quinn, has a part-time job with a nursing services agency.

It is claimed the Quinns now have sufficient funds in certain of their accounts excluded from the terms of the court orders to meet their living expenses and should not be paid from accounts controlled by the receivers, appointed by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

The receivers are anxious the pool of funds in the latter accounts be preserved pending the outcome of IBRC’s proceedings against the Quinns, the receiver’s counsel Andrew Fitzpatrick BL said.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern fixed for hearing in mid June the application by receivers to vary the orders made in 2012 which allowed Mr Quinn’s adult children and their spouses be paid living expenses from accounts controlled by the receivers.

Assets

The orders were granted as part of the long-running proceedings alleging the Quinns and others were involved in a conspiracy to strip some €500 million assets from Quinn companies to put them beyond the reach of State-controlled IBRC after it took over loans made by Anglo Irish Banks to Quinn companies. The IBRC action was initiated in 2011 but, due to various criminal proceedings involving former Anglo personnel, is unlikely to he heard until 2018.

Ross Aylward BL, for the Quinns, said there were no “astronomical” sums involved and only Aoife Quinn was receiving payments from the receiver controlled accounts. The salaries being paid to other members of the family are paid into the receivers’ accounts and then paid to the Quinns, he said.

The Quinns have brought their own application to discharge the receivers and parts of the account freezing orders granted in 2012 and that should be heard first, counsel said.

Barry O’Donnell BL, for IBRC, said it was also seeking to discover the “true nature” of the Erne Trust providing funds to the Quinns.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern said the sums involved “may not be astronomical” but this case was about “claims of fraud of the most serious kind”. He did not want a situation to arise where some Quinns, whose assets were frozen, may now be getting not just salaries but also payments from frozen funds.

That would be “an affront to taxpayers who ultimately to have to pick up the bill”, he said.

Mr Aylward said there was “no affront” to anyone here, only Aoife Quinn was drawing down funds from the accounts at issue, this was going on since 2012 and there was no risk or urgency.

Separately on Monday, the judge refused an application on behalf of two Middle Eastern firms aimed at having IBRC mediate with them its claims they were centrally involved in the alleged conspiracy to move substantial assets in the Quinns international property group beyond the bank’s reach.

Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC special liquidator Kieran Wallace, said it was totally averse to the proposed “wholly inappropriate” mediation with Senat FZC and Senat Legal Consultancy FZ LLC, of Gold & Diamond Park, Dubai, and Michael Waechter, principal of Senat FZC. Mediation between the Quinn family and IBRC had already failed and IBRC considered this mediation proposed by Senat was pointless, counsel said.

The timing of this mediation application was not accidental as it came after the Senat side lost its appeal against “crucial” discovery orders which were fought “tooth and nail”, he said.

IBRC alleges the Senat defendants were involved in devising and implementing the alleged asset-stripping scheme on behalf of the Quinn family by, among other matters, Senat FZC’s alleged involvement in organising the incorporation, purchase and, in some cases, ongoing management of a number of off-shore companies in Belize and Panama.

Jarlath Ryan, for the Senat parties, said they denied the claims and maintained they acted bona fide in relation to incorporating companies and providing legal advice in various jurisdictions.

He said Mr Waechter argued IBRC should not dismiss the Senat side until they hear what they have to say. It could be the interests of Senat and IBRC “are aligned and we may facilitate through confidentiality of mediation matters that may be of benefit to IBRC and State”.

The judge said he would not direct IBRC to consider mediation for the reasons outlined by it, including it was seeking orders against the defendants to unwind the alleged conspiracy and restore misappropriated property which orders cannot be made in mediation. He also accepted there was no reality to mediation while discovery of documents by Senat is outstanding