Quinn Contempt Case: “The judge will look again on 20 July at their co-operation with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation”

In Dublin High Court, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne has delayed the issue of what penalty to impose on bankrupt Sean “I am not dishonest” Quinn snr, his son Sean, and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn, to give them the opportunity to reverse their contempt of court in putting assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo-Irish Bank, now the state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).  From the BBC report

At the High Court in Dublin on Friday, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne warned she would “not stand idly by” while court orders were breached.

The judge made it clear that the men could still face jail if they do not obey a range of court orders.

She said it was disappointing that, even at this stage, there had been no acknowledgement from the Quinns of the “great wrong they had done”.

The judge made a number of orders which must be complied with by 20 July, including:

  • Full disclosure of all assets worldwide in which the three hold an interest;
  • A receiver be appointed over all assets, except for family homes and joint accounts;
  • The men must resign from the board of directors or from any managerial role in any company or body within the International Property Group (IPG).

Lawyer for the IBRC, Paul Gallagher, said although the bank’s primary concern was the recovery of the international property portfolio, in the interests of the proper administration of justice, it may be necessary for the court to “take punitive action” and jail the mem.

Mr Gallagher said it was extraordinary that there had been no apology from the Quinns and no acknowledgement of the scale of the contempt.

He said they had come to court with no proposals to remedy the situation.

The lawyer added that the bank had still no information about what the whereabouts of some $35m annual rental income from IPG properties.

The Irish Times report notes

The judge ruled there was contempt by all three of orders made in June and July 2011 by Mr Justice Frank Clarke restraining dissipation of assets in the IPG valued at up to €500 million.

She found contempt against Seán Quinn Snr and Peter Quinn via their involvement in assignment of about $130 million worth of loans to Galfis Overseas Ltd, a Belize entity, for nominal consideration on or after July 20th, 2011 and in back-dating those loans to April 2011.

She also found contempt against the two via their involvement in an assignment in July 2011 of a €45.2 million debt to a Northern Ireland company, Innishmore, controlled by Peter Darragh Quinn, with a view to taking control of a Ukranian property asset – the Univermag shopping centre – worth about $78 million. A Northern Ireland court recently declared that assignment was invalid.

All three were found guilty of contempt arising from their involvement in late August 2011 in a process leading to a $500,000 payment being made out of the accounts of Quinn Properties Ukraine to its general director,  Janis Puga, just as IBRC was taking over QPU. That money remains frozen.

The contempt application arose in proceedings by the bank against the three, other Quinn family members and some companies aimed at protecting assets in the IPG.

That case was initiated a year ago and is now to be fast-tracked in the Commercial Court amid concerns expressed by the bank that assets in the IPG remain at risk. This week, Mr Justice Peter Kelly continued orders freezing the accounts held or controlled by the five adult children of Mr Quinn, Peter Darragh Quinn and two sons in law of Mr Quinn, Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland, below €50 million, apart from living expenses of €8,000 until July 24th next.

In separate proceedings,  Patricia Quinn and her children, who have owned the Quinn companies since 2002, claim they are not liable for loans of some €2.8 billion made by Anglo to Quinn companies because those loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank’s share price.