Seán Quinn’s nephew bound by asset order, court rules

Judge says IBRC entitled to make sure property is not put beyond bank’s reach

Peter Darragh Quinn, a nephew of Seán Quinn, brought the case after he was discharged from bankruptcy over debts of $188 million. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Peter Darragh Quinn, a nephew of Seán Quinn, brought the case after he was discharged from bankruptcy over debts of $188 million. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

A nephew of businessman Seán Quinn remains bound by an order made in Dublin to fully disclose any details of an alleged asset-stripping scheme, the High Court in Belfast has ruled.

Peter Darragh Quinn brought a case after being discharged from bankruptcy over debts of $188 million (€168 million).

He claimed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is still pursuing him for recovery of that amount, and sought a declaration that he is now released from liabilities.

But a judge held that orders issued in Dublin allow a receiver to try to ensure there is no attempt to put the family’s property empire beyond the bank’s reach. Confirming they apply in both jurisdictions, Master Kelly said: “They are not nullified by the applicant’s bankruptcy or by his discharge.”

Peter Quinn, with an address at Sessiagh East, Innishmore, Lisbellaw, Co Fermanagh, was declared bankrupt in the North in 2014. The insolvency proceedings formed part of a wider legal battle between the Quinn family and the former Anglo Irish Bank. IBRC, now in liquidation, claimed it was owed around £2 billion by the Quinns.

In 2012 the High Court in Dublin ruled that Seán Quinn, his son Seán Quinn jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were in contempt of a prohibition on attempting to put assets beyond the bank’s reach.

Seán Quinn, once Ireland’s richest man, and his son Sean jnr were both jailed for disobeying the court orders. But when Peter Quinn did not show up for sentencing a warrant for his arrest was issued. He is believed to have remained in the North, outside the Dublin court’s jurisdiction.

“Committal proceedings followed the contempt finding, and the applicant was ultimately sentenced to three months imprisonment in absentia,” the judge pointed out. “The applicant remains in contempt of court.”

Financial dealings

Discharged from bankruptcy in 2015, he sought a declaration in Belfast against IBRC. He believes correspondence from a receiver appointed in Dublin enquiring about his financial dealings and affairs show the bank is still pursuing him for recovery of the bankruptcy debt, the court heard. But the judge held that the purpose was to keep him under scrutiny of the High Court in the Republic, and ensure no acquisition of assets protected by orders made there.

She noted these were imposed during proceedings about an alleged asset-stripping scheme by the International Property Group Ltd (IPG) – companies Seán Quinn snr established for his children’s benefit.

Orders made in the conspiracy proceedings in Dublin included injunctions and declarations that Peter Darragh Quinn unlawfully conspired to misappropriate IPG assets to put them beyond IBRC’s reach, according to her newly published judgment.

She held they were registered and have legal recognition in Northern Ireland, with discharge from bankruptcy not cancelling them out. Master Kelly added: “In conclusion therefore, the applicant remains bound by the terms of the orders.”