Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Doubts on Sean Quinn finances

Statement of affairs is viewed with 'scepticism' by receiver

Sean Quinn

Serious questions have been raised about the true state of businessman Sean Quinn's finances by the legal official in charge of his bankruptcy.

Mr Quinn, whose personal wealth was once valued at almost €5bn — but claims he now only has €11,169 cash in the bank — successfully filed for bankruptcy in Belfast over a week ago.

Yesterday, the Commercial Court in Dublin heard that the official receiver in charge of the Fermanagh-born former billionaire's bankruptcy viewed a sworn statement of affairs provided by Mr Quinn, outlining his debts and assets, with “considerable scepticism”.

The official receiver's concerns were revealed as part of a bid by Anglo Irish Bank, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC), to get a judgment of more than €2bn it says is owed to it by Mr Quinn.

While Mr Quinn — who disputes the overall level of debt owed by him to the IBRC — successfully filed for bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, his bankruptcy has now been registered in the Republic.

The benefits of filing for bankruptcy in Belfast are significant for Mr Quinn, as debtors can emerge free from bankruptcy here after one year compared to 12 years in the Republic.

The IBRC is bringing an application to the Belfast court on Thursday to have the bankruptcy annulled.

In the bankruptcy petition, the businessman listed the IBRC as his only creditor in his sworn statement of affairs.

However, lawyers representing the official receiver told Dublin High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Kelly, the listing judge of the commercial court, that there may be others who are owed money by Mr Quinn.

Barrister Bernard Dunleavy, representing the Republic’s official receiver, said yesterday that “there can hardly have been a bankruptcy ever before” like Mr Quinn's in the UK or Ireland.

Mr Dunleavy said the statement of affairs furnished by Mr Quinn in the bankruptcy application appeared to be unsatisfactory.

The IBRC says that it intends to bankrupt Mr Quinn in the Republic if it succeeds in obtaining the unprecedented judgment against its former star client.

Lawyers for the official receiver said the action for judgment should not go ahead in advance of Thursday's hearing in Belfast.

However, lawyers for the IBRC said the court should go ahead and grant judgment against Mr Quinn as this judgment would not affect the bankruptcy proceedings in Northern Ireland or its own challenge to them.

Judge Kelly will give his decision on all issues tomorrow morning.

Factfile

Sean Quinn, who is now operating his affairs from an old tyre plant in Co Cavan, has told the authorities in Northern Ireland that he has just €11,169 in three bank accounts. He has also listed, among his assets, an eight-year-old Mercedes worth just £4,000, forestry lands and two pensions valued at £172,511.

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