Peter Darragh Quinn seeks delay in IBRC application

Finding of contempt of orders restraining stripping of assets appealed to ECHR, High Court told

File photograph of Peter Darragh Quinn arriving at the High Court in Dublin in March 2012. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

File photograph of Peter Darragh Quinn arriving at the High Court in Dublin in March 2012. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Peter Darragh Quinn has asked the Commercial Court not to proceed with IBRC's application to assess damages against him until legal proceedings involving him and his family have been concluded.

The court heard Mr Quinn has appealed the High Court's finding that he was in contempt of court orders restraining stripping of assets, and subsequent committal to prison for three months, to the European Court of Human Rights.

Today Mr Justice Peter Kelly refused Mr Quinn's request, on grounds including that judgment in favour of the bank had already been granted against him. Mr Quinn could not be heard by the court until he had purged his contempt, the judge added.

Last February IBRC (in special liquidation) secured judgment orders against Mr Quinn, a nephew of bankrupt former billionaire businessman Seán Quinn, in its action aimed at preventing the stripping of assets from the Quinn family's international property group (IPG).

Last year the High Court ruled Peter Darragh Quinn, his uncle Seán and cousin Seán Quinn jnr were in contempt of court. A warrant for his arrest was issued but has yet to be executed as he remains at his home across the Border in Co Fermanagh.

Deferral request

Today in a letter read into the court record by Mr Justice Kelly, Peter Darragh Quinn asked that IRBC's application against him be deferred until after both the full action involving the bank and members of the Quinn family as well as his appeal to the ECHR are concluded.

In 2011 IBRC brought proceedings against several companies and various Quinn family members, including Peter Darragh Quinn alleging stripping of assets from the IPG. That action is being defended by members of Seán Quinn’s family, including five of his children.

Mr Quinn said he "rejected the merits" of IRBC's claim against him. Due to the committal order against him, he said he was unable to instruct lawyers to act on his behalf.

He said his co-defendants were resisting the bank's application in the main proceedings on similar grounds to him. Any defence to the bank's claim upheld by the courts in the co-defendant's favour "would equally apply to me" he said.

Mr Quinn said he "failed to see the urgency" in the IRBC's application for summary judgment. Any judgment against him he said would be "warped" and would become the subject of further appeal.

"The general principle of proportionality and fairness dictates that the application against me be deferred" until the other actions are determined, he added.

In reply, Shane Murphy SC for the IBRC said his client rejected the assertions made by Mr Quinn in his letter. Mr Quinn had not entered a defence or an appearance to the bank's claim, and judgment had already been granted against him, counsel said.

He said the first the IBRC heard of any appeal by Mr Quinn to the ECHR was in the letter.

Contempt proceedings

Counsel added that the contempt proceedings were not relevant to the application for damages to be assessed.

An appeal had been lodged with the Supreme Court, but that had not been progressed, counsel said.

Counsel said his client was, for administrative reasons, seeking a further adjournment of application. The court agreed to fix the matter to May 13th next.

Mr Justice Kelly said that he was prepared to grant the bank a short adjournment but the matter would proceed on May 13th next. All the parties are to be informed the precise date and time the application is to go ahead, the judge added.

The judge, in dismissing Mr Quinn's application, said in his letter Mr Quinn "seemed to be under the misapprehension that the bank was seeking judgment against him". Judgment, the judge said, had already been granted, and Mr Quinn had not offered any defence against the claim.

In addition, the court could not hear from Mr Quinn until he had purged his contempt, the judge said.

In addition the court also heard today that the Director of Public Prosecution was consenting to the assessment of damages going ahead.

Paul Anthony McDermot Bl said the application did not impact on pending criminal proceedings against senior figures formerly involved with the then Anglo Irish Bank.

The judge was due to hear an application IBRC for assessment of damages against a number of overseas companies - Indian Trust and three Russian companies, Vneshkonsult, Stroitelyne and RLC Development - as well as Peter Darragh Quinn.