Court grants orders freezing assets of Quinn childrenhttp://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/bre ... ing57.html
A High Court judge today granted interim orders freezing assets owned or controlled by the five adult children of bankrupt businesman Sean Quinn, his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn and two sons-in-law - Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland - below €50 million each except for living expenses of €2,000.
The orders were sought by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) on grounds it believes the Quinns have already "misappropriated" assets from their international property group (IPG) as part of a scheme to frustrate the bank's efforts to recover loans of up to €2.8 billion against them and were prepared to dispose of those assets.
The family may have continued to take actions implementing that scheme during High Court contempt proceedings against some of them, on which judgment was reserved last month, the bank claims. Transactions had occurred unexpectedly, without notice and were ongoing with one such transaction occurring while the contempt motion was at hearing in May last, it alleged.
Richard Woodhouse of IBRC said in an affdavit it was not possible to put a precise value on the assets removed to date by the Quinns or others acting on their behalf but he believed the value of the assets either removed or at risk of removal amounted to about €400 million.
It had emerged from the contempt proceedings a firm in the United Arab Emirates, Senat Legal Consultancy FZ LLC was co-ordinating litigation in all jurisdictions on behalf of the Quinn family, he added. Senat Legal, which specialises in global litigation and its sister company Senat FZC, both based in Dubai, "appeared central to the scheme".
He said the bank had obtained new information in the past few months demonstrating the extent to which steps have been taken by the family and their agents to appropriate assets in which IBRC has an interest.
This evidence included a distinct pattern of shares in valuable Russian IPG companies being transferred to off-shore companies in recent months and Peter Darragh Quinn's evidence in the contempt proceedings he requested purchase of eight off-shore shelf companies for the "Quinn family" at the request of the family's Russian advisers, the law firm A&B.
Other information included a Northern Ireland High Court ruling last month setting aside a purported assignment by Sean Quinn of a $45.2 million debt, he said.
It was also believed money assets had been taken from IPG companies and a receiver appointed by IBRC over Quinn Investments Sweden, one of the group's main holding companies, had not obtained any income from any of those companies, he said.
In making the assets restraint orders, Mr Justice Kelly said the allegations against the defendants were of the "utmost seriousness" and, given the "alleged deviousness", he considered the court should intervene and make the orders sought.
What was most unusual and perhaps unique about the bank's ex parte (one side only represented) application was its basis. The bank alleged the defendants were guilty of the most serious behaviur and may have continued to take actions in implemenaiton of the scheme to put assets beyond its reach even during the contempt proceedings.
Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne last month reserved judgment on those contempt proceedings where the bank alleges contempt by Sean Quinnn Senior, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn of court orders of June and July 2011 restraining them moving assets beyond its reach.
Evidence given by the Quinn respondents in that hearing and various other matters had caused the bank much concern, Mr Justice Kelly was told earlier by Paul Gallagher SC, for IBRC. The bank wanted the asset freezing orders over concern it will prove to be the "victim" of the alleged scheme.
The bank said it was now apparent "very significant" transactions had taken place since the High Court made orders in June and July 2011 restraining the Quinns taking steps to strip assets from the IPG.