Quinns escape jail in contempt case

Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn have avoided jail for contempt of court after hiding a €500m property portfolio from the former Anglo-Irish Bank.

Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn have avoided jail for contempt of court after hiding a €500m property portfolio from the former Anglo-Irish Bank.

The High Court in Dublin will reassess the Quinns level of co-operation with the rebranded zombie bank at a later date as it pursues more than a dozen other lawsuits in Ireland and worldwide to recoup debts.

The three were found in contempt this week for trying to move holdings in the Ukraine and Russia into shelf companies and hide them from the bank.

Mrs Justice Elizabeth Dunne’s damning judgment found them to have been blatantly dishonest and deceitful when questioned on the movement of assets.

After hearing arguments to coerce the Quinns to co-operate, she added: “I find it disappointing, at even this late stage, there seems to be no acknowledgment of the wrongdoing that has been done by the respondents in relation to specific matters that have been done.”

Bust business tycoon Quinn owes the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation €2.8bn after running up unprecedented losses through secret stock investments in Anglo.

In a packed Court 16 of the Four Courts in Dublin, the Quinns sat among rows of lawyers as the IBRC sought more than 30 orders against them following the contempt ruling.

Only five were upheld by the judge but she then warned she would not “sit idly by” if assets were stripped a second time.

The Quinns were told to disclose, by affidavit, all assets worldwide in which the three hold an interest either jointly or solely.

The court ordered that a receiver be appointed over all assets worldwide, pending a full trial, and that the three men must resign from the board of or any managerial role in any company or body within the Quinns’ International Property Group.

Also, they were told to take all necessary steps to restore the shareholdings of several companies, including Finansstroy, Red Sector and Logistica, which were linked to the asset stripping.

Finally, the Quinns were ordered to instruct any person acting on their direction or behalf to take steps to stop attempts in the Russian Federation to have the valuable Finansstroy company made bankrupt.

Earlier, Bill Shipsey, senior counsel for the Quinns, said the 30-plus orders went way beyond the grounds of the contempt case, were too general, and were impossible to carry out.

He appealed to the judge to allow the men to try to reverse the three matters raised in the contempt case before any punitive sanction is enforced.

The issues the Quinns were found in contempt of court on were linked to ownership and transfer of ownership of the €114m Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow; the €62m Ukrania Shopping Centre in Ukraine; and a €64m office block in Hyderabad, India.

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