The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn are the “only innocent victims” in a case being brought over their alleged liability for €2.34bn in loans issued by the former Anglo Irish Bank, counsel for the Quinns told the Supreme Court yesterday.
Bernard Dunleavy, counsel for Mr Quinn’s wife Patricia and their five children, disputed arguments by Anglo’s successor, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), that part of the Quinn case should be rejected because the law is there to protect innocent shareholders and creditors of the bank.
Mr Dunleavy is opposing IBRC’s appeal seeking to overturn a High Court decision permitting the Quinns to advance legal claims which could lead to their avoiding liability for €2.34bn loans.
The Quinns say they can do so because the loans were illegal due to the fact that they were used to support the bank’s share price in contravention of the Companies Act and European Market Abuse Regulations.
IBRC and its receiver, Kieran Wallace, dispute their claims and is seeking full repayment of monies due to it.
In 2012, the High Court ruled the family were entitled to advance claims that the loans were made for “wholesale” market manipulation in breach of Irish and European law.
The Quinns say the facts of the case entitle them to avoid share pledges and guarantees provided by them on foot of which IBRC sought to recover the loans and appointed a receiver.
IBRC argues the High Court was wrong to find the Quinns could rely on the “general principle of illegality” in support of their bid to avoid liability.
The Quinns also claim negligence by the bank, unconscionable conduct, and that undue influence was used on them to sign certain documents.
Yesterday, opposing IBRC’s appeal, Mr Dunleavy, for the Quinns, said while IBRC had argued the law is there to protect innocent shareholders, the only innocent parties before the court were the Quinns. No claim has been brought by anyone else in relation to claims of wrongdoing.
Mr Dunleavy also said it had been accepted by IBRC, under questioning by the Supreme Court judges, that the wrongdoers in this matter were both Seán Quinn Sr and Anglo. He said an “obvious wrongdoing” had been committed because the bank, knowing it was doing something wrong, “gave out enormous loans to create a gross distortion of the market”.
The appeal continues.
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