Belfast High Court Annuls Sean Quinn Bankruptcy

As the BBC reports, in the latest instalment of the continuing complicated legal battle between Sean Quinn and the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, Belfast High Court has ruled that Mr Quinn is not entitled to declare himself bankrupt in the UK.  He can, however, apply for bankruptcy in Ireland.  From the BBC report

At the High Court on Tuesday Mr Justice Deeney found in favour of the bank, annulling the bankruptcy.

He found that a lease for an office in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, had been drawn up to “bolster” Mr Quinn’s claim and that his centre of interests prior to bankruptcy was in fact in the Republic of Ireland between his home in County Cavan, offices in Belturbet and advisors offices in Dublin.

The judge described the Derrylin lease as “a somewhat curious document”.

Justice Deeny added: “I conclude, on the balance of probabilities, that this lease has been prepared at some much later date to try and bolster the case now being made.”

He commented that Mr Quinn had failed to disclose the fact that he held an Irish passport and no UK passport, that he was a voter in the Republic of Ireland and that, despite being a UK taxpayer, 20% of his taxes were paid to the authorities in the Republic.

The New York Times had a recent long article on “The Fall of Ireland’s Mighty Quinn“.

Adds  There’s a summary of the court judgement, and the full judgement is available here.

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  • sherdy

    Twenty per cent of his taxes were paid to the Republic – surely just a minority. How much of his taxes were paid in NI or the UK?

  • In the BBC report, Mr. Quinn has said the following, which I regard as significant

    “I’m 65 years of age and I’ve never worked a day of my life outside Northern Ireland,” he said.

    “I never did a day’s work from southern Ireland in my life. I never done a day’s work in my home. I never had any computers, I never had any IT system. Everything was always done from Derrylin.”

    The law says that the when a person goes bankrupt, the administration of the bankruptcy takes place in the jurisdiction where a bankrupt has his centre of main interests (COMI).

    There is no established legal definition of a COMI. However, UK judges have tended to apply the test of a COMI as the place where a person makes his business decisions.

    That is a very strong pointer to an appeal. Expect an announcement of an appeal within the next 28 days!

  • Alias

    The judgement deals with that point, SM. It comes down to past and present: even if the centre of his main interests may have been out of the jurisdiction, they’re not now. He has no business interests in NI.

  • Pete Baker

    And Mr Justice Deeney also stated that the non-disclosure by Sean Quinn of material matters “was a sufficient ground for him to exercise his discretion to rescind the Bankruptcy Order had he not already decided to annul it.”

  • Skinner

    can anyone explain why it is better for anglo to have him declared bankrupt in ROI rather than the UK? News articles are very poor at explaining that.

  • Pete Baker

    Skinner

    As I recall they have previously cited the difficulties and expense of duplication of legal representation in the different jurisdictions as one reason.

    They’ve also suggested that Quinn’s attempt to be declared bankrupt in the UK was designed to frustrate, or at least further complicate, their efforts at securing his worldwide assets.

  • Skinner

    I don’t really buy the expense argument – they are chasing more than £1bn of assets, which makes expenditure in two jurisdictions de minimus.

    It must have something to do with the 1yr vs 12 yrs time difference between the two jurisdictions. But frankly if they have a judgment that says he owes the money then just go ahead and enforce it against his assests like any other judgment – I don’t see what the problem is. Are your worldwide assets any easier to seize if you are an ROI bankrupt rather than a UK bankrupt? I doubt the authorities in e.g. the Ukraine really make a distinction.

  • I don’t see what the problem is. Are your worldwide assets any easier to seize if you are an ROI bankrupt rather than a UK bankrupt? ….Skinner 12 January 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Methinks it all comes down to who thinks they are hard enough to add sequestered and coveted, dodgy purloined worldwide bookable assets from Maison Quinn, to inflate their own balance sheets,Skinner. It all about where the money ends up and who has the keys and wherewithall to spend it and/or tend it.

    It’s a feast for scavengers salivating over a naked bone.