Quinns claim honestly unaware

The family of businessman Seán Quinn want to amend their case against the State-owned IBRC to allege they were innocently unaware, when signing share pledges and guarantees as security for €2.34bn loans from Anglo Irish Bank to Quinn companies, that security was allegedly for the unlawful purpose of propping up the bank’s share price.

They claim they should be entitled to advance a specific claim of innocent unawareness at the hearing of their action aimed at avoiding liabiltiy for the €2.34bn loans.

The trial of that action, initiated in 2011, has been deferred four times at the application of the DPP on grounds it might prejudice separate criminal proceedings against former Anglo executives and officials.

A new trial date has yet to be fixed but the appeal court heard yesterday that it might be 2017 at the earliest.

Having heard the family’s appeal against a High Court judge’s refusal to permit them make claims of innocent unawareness of the purpose of the share pledges and guarantees, the three-judge Court of Appeal said it would give judgement on a later date.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan said the court was also reserving judgement on IBRC’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to allow the family pursue their claim that the €2.34bn loans themselves were unlawfully made.

The High Court had also ruled the Quinns cannot pursue claims that the same loans are not enforceable, if found to be illegally made.

The action by Patricia Quinn and her five children is aimed at avoiding liability for the loans of €2.34bn made by the former Anglo Irish Bank to Quinn companies.

In submissions on behalf of the family in their appeal, Bernard Dunleavy said their action has “no real prospect” of getting on for at least another year and a half.

It was difficult how IBRC could contend it will suffer any meaningful prejudice as a result of the amendments his side sought to make, he said.

The Quinns say they were effectively directed by others to sign the disputed share pledges and guarantees, he said.

Their case was they would not have done so had they known those were intended, it is alleged, to provide security for loans advanced for the unlawful purpose of propping up Anglo’s share price.

Opposing the appeal, Paul Gallagher said the family had not pleaded the case they were now seeking to make and could not be permitted to make that case now.

This was an attempt, following the Supreme Court judgment, to go behind that judgment, he argued.


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