Court finds ‘substandard’ Quinn disclosure in IBRC case

Judgment finds five Quinn children and three spouses made ‘substandard’ disclosure

Mr Justice Peter Kelly

Mr Justice Peter Kelly

 

A High Court judge has said it is “simply incredible” to accept claims by several members of Sean Quinn’s family they cannot produce documents concerning their alleged contracts of employment with Russian companies from which they were paid “very large” sums totalling almost €2m in a “very strange way”.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly made the remarks in a judgment today finding the five Quinn children and three of their spouses made “substandard” disclosure of several categories of documents and other material sought by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) for its action alleging a conspiracy to strip assets from the Quinns international property group and put them beyond its reach.

The full hearing has been parked pending criminal proceedings against various former executives of Anglo.

The judge directed the defendants - except Brenda Quinn who was not employed by any IPG company- to make fuller and better disclosure of all documents concerning their “highly lucrative” contracts of empoyment with IPG companies about which he had heard “extraordinary evidence” when the Quinns were cross-examined before him.

Given “unsatisfactory” evidence about bank accounts held by the defendants, he also directed all of them to make full and proper disclosure concerning all bank accounts held by them directly or indirectly since April 2011.

He also directed Seán Quinn Jnr and Stepehen Kelly - husband of Aoife Quinn - to disclose documents relating to rents paid to IPG companies after rejecting claims by them they played no signficant role in those companies.

Ciara and Colette Quinn, Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly were ordered to disclose all documents provided by them to an accoutancy firm, KBG Accountants, related to any companies or entities associated with the defendants.

All defendants must disclosue documents related to ownership of several Quinn companies and must also list all relevant documents which they once had and had deleted. They must also explain why those deletions were carried out. Due to “confusing” evidence about deleting material, this order was necessary, the judge said.

He refused to make further dislclosure orders sought by IBRC, including a sworn explanation of the relationship between the defendants, their former solicitors Eversheds; a Middle Eastern law firm, Senat Legal, another Senat company Senat FZC and its principal Michael Waechter. He also refused to order the Quinns disclose documents held by Eversheds.

In his decision, he found “very large sums” were paid in a “very strange” way to Aoife, Colette, Ciara and Seán Quinn Junior, plus their spouses Niall McPartland, Stephen Kelly and Karen Woods, for work allegedly done by them for Russian companies.

“If it was done, is is simply incredible that there is nothing by way of documentation to back it up within their power, possession or procurement,” he said.

There was no dispute these family members received very large sums via salaries under their alleged employment contracts and the way in which those salareis were paid was “very strange”, he said.

The monies were transferred by IPG companies into an Ocean Bank account in Moscow and the relevant defendants held VISA debit cars from that bank which they used to withdraw cash here.

Sometimes this involved lengthy periods of time spent extracting cash from an automatic cash dispenser, he said. In Aoife Quinn’s case, her affidavit did not disclose she had received some €370,000, the use of the debit card or how she spent the money. She had said the only records of the payments were via text messages from Ocean Bank.

He could not accept there was such a paucity of documents relating to those monies and it was “even less believable” there were no documents in respect of the spending of the monies given they were used mainly to pay legal fees. There must have been correspondence, invoices or fee notes regarding the payments.

Ciara Quinn had said she paid large sums to lawyers and gave money to Aoife and Seán Jnr and withdrew those monies from a cash dispenser but had no idea how much money she handed over in that way and had no document about spending of the monies.

Her inability to explain how affidavits had mentioned monies were transferred from Senat to Eversheds when it was later contended Eversheds were paid in Ireland by her using a cash machine, was “even more puzzling”.

He could not accept the defendants, except Mr McPartland, do not have or cannot get documents related to how their salaries were spent, especially when much of the money was used to pay lawyers. Mr McPartland had said he had receipts concerning certain withdrawls but did not believe he was obliged to dicslose them, he noted. “I do not share that view.”

On the Quinns’ claims they have no knowledge of, or documents concerning rents paid to IPG companies, the judge said he believed Seán Jnr, Aoife Quinn and Stephen Kelly had greater roles in the IPG companies than they admitted. Why were documents concerning a €3m transaction by a Russian IPG company, Business Park, sent to Aoife Quinn if she had as little to do with IPG companies as she suggested, he asked.

While Seán Jnr had claimed he was dealing only with tenant issues, he had asked for the cash balances of three Russian companies and an organisational chart for the companies demnstrated him in a superior position, the judge remarkd. Evidence also suggested Stephen Kelly played a “significant role” in the IPG companies including his being a director of Cranre which received most of its income from Univermag, a Ukraine IPG company. Several trips by Mr Kelly to Moscow, Kiev, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were also relevant, the judge added.

During the cross-examination of the Quinns, Sean Quinn Junior said he received some €400,000 paid over a year from companies in the IPG while his wife Karen Woods was paid some €320,297. Aoife Quinn said she was paid some €376,000 over a year from June 2011 and the bulk of that was spent by the end of that year.

Colette Quinn was paid some €340,000 while Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland were paid about €260,000 and €281,000 respectively. The money was paid into accounts held by the four with Ocean Bank in Moscow and withdrawn from ATMS here and via Visa Cards.

Colette Quinn said she has few documents or receipts indicating what happened to some €327,000 of the €340,000 paid to her over a year between 2011 and 2012. Some of the money went for household expenses like groceries and petrol and some for legal fees, she said. She withdrew some €16,000 in 20 transactions mainly from ATMs in Belturbet and Cavan town over two hours on June 14th 2012, the court heard.

Stephen Kelly said he was paid some €260,000 from two Russian companies betwen May 2011 and June 2012. Some of that went to household expenses and legal fees for which he had not kept receipts, he said.

Niall McPartland said he received a salary of some €281,000 from three Russian companies. He had receipts relating to how he spent those monies but did not believe he was required by court orders to disclose them to IBRC, he said.