Quinns challenge to receiver opens

 

Family members of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn have claimed a receiver appointed over their personal assets by the former Anglo Irish Bank is not independent but biased towards the bank on grounds, including that several of his staff worked at a senior level for the bank before and since its nationalisation.

They are also objecting to requests by receiver Declan Taite of accountancy firm RSMFGS to disclose wide-ranging information about their assets and financial and tax affairs, including their personal email accounts and passwords and phones or any devices on which information about assets may be stored.

The receiver is engaged in “an excessively voyeuristic intrusion into our personal lives” affecting information such as medical records, family photos, communicaitons with the media and personal communications, they claim.

They were very concerned Mr Taite would pass on such information to the bank which could assist it in defending the family’s forthcoming action aimed at avoiding liability for loans of €2.34 billion, they added.

The family also want the court to discharge Mr Taite’s solicitors, Arthur Cox, alleging that firm is “heavily conflicted” on grounds including its involvement in the restructuring of Quinn companies.

Other concerns included that Cox is acting for the bank in its action against former Anglo head of lending Thomas Browne which would address issues concerning the building up of contract-for-difference positions by Sean Quinn in Anglo, they said.

“Multiple partners” in Arthur Cox had undertaken very significant work for Anglo and it was clear the firm was receiving very substantial work from Anglo and/or its shareholder, the Department of Finance, they said.

The family complained of “overlapping” of senior staff between RSMFGS, Anglo and IBRC. Ian Duffy, former managing partner of RSMFGS, is a former director of Anglo; Anthony Carroll, manager of RSMFGS’ insolvency division since November 2012, was employed as an Anglo assistant manager for five years and David Crotty, assistant manager RSMFGS since January 2011, was previously employed for five years by Anglo/Irish Nationwide Building Society, he said.

Paul Brady, a solicitor with RSMFGS since September 2011, was previously employed by Anglo as a solicitor for two years.

The family also say Mark Breen, an assistant manager with IBRC since September 2011 was previously employed by RSMFGS while Marina Neagu, internal auditor with IBRC since June 2010, was previously employed as an auditor with RSMFGS.

The family said they were unaware of all these matters when they consented to the appointment of Mr Taite three months ago and denied their applicaton is a bid to derail the receiver’s work.

Lawyers for Mr Taite, Arthur Cox and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) argued the family had raised no grounds requiring the court to discharge either the receiver or his lawyers.

Michael Collins SC, for Mr Taite and Arthur Cox, also said “not a single material document” had been provided three months on by the family since the receiver’s appointment despite the court requiring the family to co-operate wth the receiver.

Mr Collins said the receiver’s application for wide-ranging documents had to be seen in a context where his appointment was sought to assist in policing injunctions restraining the stripping of assets by the Quinns.

Among the duties of a receiver is duties to creditors and it was in that context requests for information were made from the Quinns, counsel said. Mr Taite was frustrated by the Quinns’ non co-operation and the Quinn’s objections to him and his solicitors was an effort to derail and delay compliance with disclosure of assets, he argued.

Mr Taite said in an affidavit he had sought but failed to get the agreement of the Quinns to a process for extracting information from their computers.

It was vital that work be carried out quickly and the failure to reach agreement meant he was no longer prepared to agree informatoon extracted from the devices would not be made availabe to the bank and reviewed. He was prepared to share with the bank information that was not privileged and relevant to the asets.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he wanted to consider the factual and legal issues raised and would give judgment at a later date. If he refuses to discharge, the judge will deal with the receiver’s application for wide-ranging orders requiring the Quinns provide the information sought by him.

IBRC is seeking to recover loans of up to €2.8 billion made to Quinn companies but the family, in their action against the bank due to be heard next April, allege it is not entitled to recover €2.34 billion loans because they were “shovelled” by the bank illegally into the companies in a bid to shore up its share price.

Mr Quinn’s four daughters, sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland and daughter-in-law Karen Woods all attended court today for the hearing. They represented themselves after the Dublin law firm Eversheds stopped acting for them last month due to alleged inability to pay legal fees.

Mr McPartland, a qualified solicitor, made the application and additional submissions were made by Aoife and Colette Quinn.