Quinn family 'stripped assets'

 

Members of the Quinn family allegedly engaged in a ‘pattern of dispossession’ in a bid to strip assets from an archipelago of companies to leave Anglo Irish Bank with provision over essentially worthless entities, it was claimed in court today.

Proceedings for a High court application for an interlocutory injunction preventing the Quinn family from transferring assets opened today, after a bid to adjourn proceedings by lawyers for the Quinn family was turned down.

Senior Counsel for the Quinn family Bill Shipsey had appealed for an adjournment until September to allow for a decision on whether the court has jurisdiction over the issue. He said his client had not had time to deal with a fourth affidavit submitted by Richard Woodhouse on behalf of Anglo Irish Bank, late on Sunday.

Mr Shipsey represents Mr Quinn; his children Ciara, Colette, Seán jnr, Brenda and Aoife; his nephew, Peter; and sons-in-law, Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland; as well as two companies, Quinn Investments Sweden AB and Indian Trust AB.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke ordered the hearing to open shortly before lunchtime after he decided to rule on the jurisdiction issue and the injunction together.

The Judge said that on balance, to proceed was the preferred option because of a range of delays that could arise from one or other side seeking an appeal on the jurisdiction issue.

“It is not hard to envisage the complications that might arise,” Mr Justice Clarke said.

Presenting the core case for Anglo, Shane Murphy, SC, claimed that members of the Quinn family had engaged in wrongful conduct in taking steps to establish a corporate group representing a ‘mirror structure.‘

“The defendants are moving in a way designed to remove assets from the IPG (the archipelago of Quinn companies.) If that continues the plaintiff would find itself effectively dealing with a skeleton,” Mr Murphy said.

Mr Murphy said the process amounted to a conspiracy because there was more than one person involved and said there was an absence of clarity surrounding ‘a pattern of dispossession’ connected to shares in the Quinn family's property portfolio.

The details of the fourth affidavit submitted by Mr Woodhouse, the executive in charge of the Quinn loans, were not admitted in court.

Mr Justice Clarke refused to admit the affidavit in question to proceedings today but did not rule out its future use.

Mr Shipsey had argued that his client had not had time to deal with an affidavit submitted by Richard Woodhouse, late on Sunday.

He argued that members of the Quinn family were not happy with the manner and contents of Mr Woodhouse’s fourth affidavit.

Mr Murphy introduced a series of detailed affidavits claiming further alleged attempts were made by members of the Quinn family to transfer international property assets out of Anglo’s reach through shares in the formation of new companies built into a hierarchy of existing companies located in Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and India.

He claimed the transfer of a shareholding in a Russian based company that pledged 100 per cent of its interests to Anglo in 2008 over to Peter Quinn last month formed part of a pattern of dispossession but Mr Justice Clarke pointed out the incident concerned only half of 1 per cent of one of the shares.

Mr Murphy also introduced an affidavit from Aoife Quinn in which she asserts that loans from Anglo subsequently invested into various Quinn companies were unenforceable because they were intended to support an illegal purpose.

He is expected to continue to outline the case on behalf of Anglo tomorrow while Mr Shipsey will be given an opportunity to answer these claims on Thursday.