Belfast Telegraph

Former tycoon fails to halt bankruptcy move in Republic

Former billionaire businessman Sean Quinn has failed in a legal bid to have new bankruptcy proceedings against him in the Republic of Ireland put on hold.

A High Court judge in Belfast refused his application to restrain the former Anglo Irish Bank from serving him with a summons.

With the injunction request denied, papers are now set to be served at his home in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

He will then have 14 days to either seek to have the summons set aside or else pay alleged debts in excess of €2bn (£1.7bn). At that stage the renamed Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is expected to petition for Mr Quinn to be declared bankrupt in Dublin.

Mr Justice Deeny declined to grant an injunction after being told IBRC would ask for its petition to be adjourned until he has ruled on an attempt to have the tycoon's bankruptcy in Northern Ireland annulled.

The 65-year-old, once Ireland's richest man, was stripped of control of his manufacturing and insurance business empire in April.

He obtained a voluntary adjudication at the High Court in Belfast in November.

By making the declaration in Northern Ireland it means he only has to wait 12 months before going back into business - rather than 12 years in the Republic.

The bank heavily rejects his claim to have been based north of the border.

Judgment is expected in the new year on IBRC's application for the order to be set aside due to its contention that his centre of main interest is in the Republic.

In court in Belfast yesterday it emerged that a bankruptcy summons was drawn up in Dublin last week.

Although it had not been served on Mr Quinn (below), the new intention was to deliver it to his home address.

The businessman's barrister, Paul McLaughlin, urged the court to restrain the action pending a further order.

He claimed the bank was attempting to divert attention in the case to the Republic.

David Dunlop, for IBRC, argued that Mr Quinn's application was misconceived.

He stressed there was no attempt by his client to "abdicate" the jurisdiction of the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Dunlop confirmed that no attempt would be made to have any petition determined until the centre of main interest issue was resolved.

Mr Justice Deeny held that there was no basis for concluding the bank was acting in bad faith.

He said: "They have said they will commence proceedings but will not take the crucial step of seeking an order of bankruptcy in the Republic until the determination of the annulment application before this court.

"On those grounds I refuse the application."

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