DPP seeks to adjourn Quinn case

Mon, Jan 28, 2013, 00:00

The Director of Public Prosecutions will ask the Commercial Court tomorrow to adjourn the former Anglo Irish Bank’s long-running “conspiracy” case against bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, members of his family and others until the criminal trial of former Anglo Irish chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and two of the bank’s former senior executives has concluded.

The bank’s action alleging a conspiracy by the Quinn defendants and others to strip assets valued at up to €455 million in the Quinn’s international property group was initiated in June 2011. The legal costs of it to date are conservatively estimated at well over €10 million.

The Quinns claim loans of about €54 million were made to IPG companies of which, they allege, only €9.2 million relates to companies involved in the conspiracy case. They claim the rest of the €445 million sum is not relevant to the conspiracy case.

A full hearing date for the conspiracy action has yet to be set but there have been more than 40 pre-trial applications in the courts here, including for orders
freezing accounts of several family members and contempt proceedings resulting in the jailing of Sean Quinn and his son Sean Junior. The case has also led to
applications in other courts worldwide, including Russia and Cyprus.

If the DPP’s application for an adjournment of the full conspiracy case is granted, various other pre-trial applications, including the cross-examination of the Quinn
children to see if they have made full disclosure of their accounts and information concerning IPG companies, will still be heard.

Lawyers for the Quinns previously brought their own application to adjourn the conspiracy proceedings in circumstances where the family’s own action alleging they
ae not liable for allegedly unlawful loans of some €2.34bn made by Anglo to Quinn companies has been adjourned, at the application of the DPP, until the
crimninal trials of Sean Fitzpatrick, Pat Whelan and William McAteer have concluded.

The Quinns’ bid to have the conspiracy case adjourned was listed for hearing on February 28th next but will not proceed if the DPP’s application is granted.

When dealing with more pre-trial matters yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told by Shane Muprhy SC, for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, that the trustee dealing with Sean Quinn’s bankruptcy has decided not to defend the conspiracy case on behalf of Mr Quinn’s creditors.

In those circumstances, the bank intends to bring motions for judgment in default of defence against Mr Quinn and would be writing to him in that regard within 48 hours, counsel said. IBRC would also seek be seeking judgment against Peter Darragh Quinn, a nephew of Mr Quinn, on grounds he was not entitled to defend the case while he remained in contempt of court.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne had last June ruled Peter Quinn, along with his uncle Sean and cousin Sean jnr, was in contempt of curt orders of June and July 2011 restraining stripping of assets from the IPG. He has not attended court since late June and a warrant for his arrest remains unexecuted while he remains at his home in Northern Ireland.

Mr Murphy said the bank will also seek judgment in default of defence against three Russian companies and an Indian company in the IPG.

Companies in Belize and Panama which are also defendants in the case have been placed in administration, the court heard.

Martin Hayden SC, for the Quinns, said they would not be opposing the DPP’s adjournment application which will come before Mr Justice Kelly. He will deal with that prior to the resumption of the cross-examination of various Quinn family members.

The judge adjourned for three weeks the hearing of the bank’s application for judgment against Sean Quinn snr, Peter Darragh Quinn, the three Russian companies and the Indian company. Noting there have been difficulties in the past in serving documents on Peter Quinn personally, the judge said documents could be served on him by post.

If judgment is granted against Sean Quinn, Peter Quinn and the companies, it is expected any judgment amount will be decided only after the full actions by the family and the bank have been heard and decided.

As the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick will not open until January 2014, it could be years before the full actions between the family and bank are determined.

The judge also heard the bank will apply in two weeks to join Senat Legal and Senat FZC, two related firms with offices in the United Arab Emirates, to the conspiracy action. It has alleged those companies provided various services for the Quinn family, including services relating to the setting up of off-shore companies.