Belfast Telegraph

Secretly filmed meeting ‘proves why Quinn can’t reverse payout’

By Tim Healy

A secret recording of a meeting in Ukraine attended by Sean Quinn Jr, his cousin Peter (below) and some Ukranians showed a “torrid row” about money, his lawyer has said.

He said the recording made clear the Quinns cannot reverse a controversial $500,000 (£310,000) payment that led to Quinn (33) being jailed.

The payment was allegedly made to Larissa Puga, general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine (QPU), in Kiev.

Brian O'Moore SC told the Supreme Court in Dublin that the video made clear that whatever relations previously existed between the Quinns and Ms Puga, they were “at daggers drawn” on January 21, 2012, when the meeting was recorded.

Mr O'Moore was making submissions on the second day of an appeal by Quinn against his jailing for contempt over failure to comply with court orders.

The Irish High Court ruled last July he was in contempt of orders restraining asset-stripping on the grounds that he participated in the payment to Ms Puga around late August 2011.

This was just as QPU was about to be taken over by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish Bank, which claims to be owed €2.8bn (£2.2bn) by Quinn companies.

Mr O'Moore said his client cannot be left to languish in jail indefinitely over a failure to reverse the Puga payment and 30 other alleged transactions stripping assets from the Quinn family's international property group (IPG).

Even if the inability to reverse was the result of his client's own actions, which was denied, that could not be a basis for keeping him in prison, he said.

The family's legal team argue the jailed man was only found guilty of a single allegation — the $500,000 (£310,000) payment.

Mr O'Moore said that it had been facilitated by a contract of employment, adding that his client had nothing to do with it.

Mr O'Moore said the video recording of the Ukrainian meeting made clear his client could not reverse the payment made to Ms Puga. The Quinns owned just 15% of QPU with the rest owned by their neighbours and relatives, he added.

It was clear the recording was by an unknown person hostile to the Quinns and they objected to it being viewed by the High Court on the grounds it was only a 15- minute record of the hour-long meeting in January 2012 and was not proven in evidence. However, the DVD was admitted. That objection was not being pursued in the appeal as they could not “unscramble the omelette” and because the DVD supported Quinn’s description of that meeting as “hostile”, counsel said. The High Court erred in finding his client participated in the payment to Ms Puga as there was no evidence to support that finding, he argued.

The DVD, published in the Mail on Sunday last July, showed the two Quinns arguing with Ms Puga and two unidentified men about money, he said. The High Court had wrongly found the DVD did not support his client's claims of a collapse in relations with Ms Puga.

Quinn, held in Mountjoy Prison since July 20, was in court yesterday with his wife Karen, brother-in-law Niall McPartland and supporters.

Earlier, counsel for IRBC said the bank does not accept claims by the Quinn family that more than €430m of assets in IPG cannot be recovered.

The bank claims the Quinns had engaged in a “deliberate and complex fraud” of those companies which continued after court orders restraining asset stripping were made in 2011.

The appeal continues today.

Belfast Telegraph

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