I’m a simple farmer’s son, says bankrupt Quinn

Bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn yesterday told the High Court he was “a simple farmer’s son”.

The man who once ran an empire represented himself when a case involving the Quinn family came before the Commercial Court.

He appeared before the court for the first time yesterday looking for permission to defend claims by Anglo Irish Bank that he has liability for some or all of €2.34bn loans made to various Quinn companies.

Mr Quinn told Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday he was “a simple farmer’s son” who did not need much time to argue his entitlement to be represented in his family’s case against Anglo aimed at avoiding liability for the loans, and could be ready within a week or so.

His unexpected appearance came as the judge was preparing to deal with the bank’s application for an order that Mr Quinn be deemed bound by any judgment made in that action.

The bank has joined Mr Quinn and two ex-Quinn Group executives as third parties to the action against it by Patricia Quinn and her children denying liability for the €2.34bn loans on grounds including they were allegedly made for the unlawful purpose of propping up the bank’s share price.

The bank has denied such claims and has joined Mr Quinn, Dara O’Reilly, CEO of Quinn Group (NI) Ltd, and Liam McCaffrey, ex-Quinn group finance director, as third parties for the purposes of claiming indemnity against them should the family succeed.

The three, the bank alleges, were central to the management of the Quinn group and an alleged strategy to make investments to fund contract for difference positions in Anglo before the end of 2007.

The proceedings were before Mr Justice Kelly yesterday via an application by Anglo for directions on how the matter should proceed against the third parties as it appeared Mr Quinn would not be represented following his adjudication as a bankrupt and the decision by the official assignee in bankruptcy not to defend the case Mr Quinn’s behalf.

Yesterday, Brian Murray SC, for the bank, said he would contend Mr Quinn could not defend the action on his own behalf when the official assignee had decided not to participate.

Mr Quinn told the judge Anglo had joined him to the case but now “doesn’t want me”. He was “obviously a major part” of the Anglo/Quinn situation over the past 10 years “and I would have thought it was useful for the court to hear my views”. When the judge said the bank disputed if he could appear in circumstances where he was a bankrupt and the official assignee had chosen not to be involved, Mr Quinn said: “I don’t know, judge, The way I see it, Anglo joined me, I filed a defence and I want to stand over it.”

The judge said an interesting legal issue arose whether Mr Quinn could do so. The bank, he noted, had said there was no legal authority on that issue here, while Mr Quinn would not be permitted to represent himself in England.

The judge fixed Mr Quinn’s application for hearing on Mar 15. When Mr Quinn said he was “not big into emails”, the judge directed the documents could be served at his address in Cavan by post.

Mr Quinn said he would need a week to prepare for the hearing on his entitlement to defend. “I’m a simple farmer’s son”, he said, to which the judge said: “I’m a simple man myself”.

A date for the full hearing of the action by the family has yet to be fixed.

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