Quinns get permission to sue FitzPatrick

The family of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn have received the go ahead to sue former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick for damages.

The Quinns required the High Court’s permission to bring their intended action against Mr FitzPatrick because he has been adjudicated a bankrupt.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted the Quinns permission after an undertaking was given that they would not seek to enforce any judgment they may secure against Mr Fitzpatrick’s estate.

The estate is administered by the official assignee in bankruptcy, Chris Lehane.

Last month the court was told that in their intended action, Patricia Quinn and her five adult children will claim that, between Sept 2007 and July 2008, Mr FitzPatrick conspired with others to enter into unlawful contracts. The alleged actions occurred prior to Mr FitzPatrick being adjudicated as a bankrupt in 2010.

Yesterday, Stephen Walsh, for the Quinns, said his clients were giving an undertaking that should they be successful in their action they will not seek to enforce any judgment for damages or legal costs against Mr FitzPatrick’s estate.

Mr Walsh said the claim would be brought against an insurance policy relating to Mr FitzPatrick in his capacity as Anglo chairman. It was still to be determined if such an insurance policy existed or if it would cover the intended claim.

Mr Lehane, who in his capacity as official assignee would be a party in the Quinns claim against Mr FitzPatrick, said he had no objection to the action being brought now an indemnity had been given on behalf of the Quinns.

Mr Justice McGovern said he was satisfied to grant the Quinns permission under Section 136 of the Bankruptcy Act to bring the damages action against Mr FitzPatrick to bring their proposed action against Mr FitzPatrick. He said the order was only being granted because of the indemnity offered by the Quinns.

The Quinns intend to bring proceedings against 11 other former Anglo directors, and the Central Bank and Department of Finance in their capacity as regulators, over loans of about €2.34bn allegedly unlawfully issued by Anglo to Quinn companies during 2007 and 2008.

The Quinns allege those loans were intended to fund margin calls on contract for difference positions held by the family in Anglo shares.

The Quinns have also initiated proceedings against other ex-Anglo directors. They are: Declan Quilligan, of Wetherby Place, London; Patrick Whelan, of Coast Rd, Malahide, Co Dublin; Lar Bradshaw, of Church Rd, Killiney, Co Dublin; Fintan Drury, of Old Rissian Village, Kilquade, Co Wicklow; Noel Harwerth, of Grosvenor Square, London; Anne Heraty, of Highfield Road, Rathgar, Dublin; Michael Jacob, of Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Willie McAteer, of Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin; Gerard William McGann, of Stonehouse, Donnybrook, Dublin; Edmond Francis Sullivan, of Linden Fields, Grove Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin; and David Drumm, of Old Colony Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States.

The Quinns allege the former directors either collectively or individually authorised the advancing of loans to Quinn companies and this was illegal and/or wrongful and caused damage to the Quinns.

They are claiming damages against all defendants for alleged conspiracy, breach of duty including statutory duty and fiduciary duty, negligence, misfeasance in public office.


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