A High Court judge has said it is “incredible” to accept claims by members of Seán Quinn’s family they cannot produce documents concerning alleged contracts of employment with Russian companies from which they were paid “very large” sums totalling almost €2m in a “very strange way”.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly made the remarks in a judgment yesterday finding the five Quinn children and three of their spouses made “substandard” disclosure of documents and other material sought by IBRC for its action alleging a conspiracy to strip assets from the Quinns’ international property group (IPG) and put them beyond its reach.
The full hearing has been parked pending criminal proceedings against various former executives of Anglo.
The judge directed the defendants — except Brenda Quinn, who was not employed by any IPG company — to make fuller and better disclosure of all documents concerning their “lucrative” contracts with IPG firms about which he had heard “extraordinary evidence” when the Quinns were cross-examined before him.
Given “unsatisfactory” evidence about bank accounts held by the defendants, He directed all of them to make full and proper disclosure concerning all accounts held by them directly or indirectly since Apr 2011.
All defendants must disclose files related to ownership of several Quinn companies and must list all relevant documents which they once had and had deleted. They must also explain why those deletions were carried out. Due to “confusing” evidence about deleting material, this order was necessary, the judge said.
He refused to make further disclosure orders sought by IBRC, including a sworn explanation of the relationship between the defendants, their former solicitors Eversheds; a Middle Eastern law firm, Senat Legal; another Senat company Senat FZC; and its principal Michael Waechter. He also refused to order the Quinns disclose documents held by Eversheds.
The judge found “very large sums” were paid in a “very strange” way to Aoife, Colette, Ciara, and Seán Jr, plus their spouses Niall McPartland, Stephen Kelly, and Karen Woods, for work allegedly for Russian firms.
“If it was done, it is simply incredible that there is nothing by way of documentation to back it up within their power, possession or procurement,” he said.
There was no dispute these family members received large sums, he said. The monies were transferred by IPG companies into an Ocean Bank account in Moscow and the relevant defendants held debit cars from that bank which they used to withdraw cash here.
Sometimes this involved lengthy periods of time spent extracting cash from an automatic cash dispenser, he said. In Aoife’s case, her affidavit did not disclose she had received €370,000, the use of the debit card or how she spent the money. She had said the only records of the payments were via text messages from Ocean.
He could not accept there was such a paucity of documents relating to those monies or that there were none in respect of spending of the monies given they were used for legal fees.
Ciara had said she paid large sums to lawyers and gave money to Aoife and Seán Jr and withdrew those monies from a cash dispenser but had no idea how much money she handed over in that way and had no document about spending. Her inability to explain how affidavits had mentioned monies were transferred from Senat to Eversheds when it was later contended Eversheds were paid in Ireland by her using a cash machine, was “even more puzzling”. He could not accept the defendants, except Mr McPartland, do not have or cannot get files related to how the salaries were spent. Mr McPartland had said he had receipts concerning certain withdrawals but did not believe he was obliged to disclose them, he noted. “I do not share that view.”
On the Quinns’ claims they have no knowledge of or documents concerning rents paid to IPG firms, the judge said he believed Sean Jnr, Aoife Quinn and Stephen Kelly had greater roles in the IPG companies than they admitted. Why were documents concerning a €3m transaction by a Russian IPG company, Business Park, sent to Aoife Quinn if she had as little to do with IPG companies as she suggested, he asked.
During the cross-examination of the Quinns, Seán Jr said he received €400,000 paid over a year from companies in the IPG while his wife Karen Woods was paid €320,297. Aoife Quinn said she was paid €376,000 over a year from Jun 2011 and most of that was spent by the end of the year. Ciara said she was paid €339,000 over a year from Jul 2011.
Colette Quinn was paid €340,000 while Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland were paid about €260,000 and €281,000 respectively.
Stephen Kelly said he was paid €260,000 from two Russian companies between May 2011 and Jun 2012.
Niall McPartland said he received a salary of €281,000 from three Russian companies.
* Read the full judgment at http://exa.mn/kl
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