Belfast Telegraph

Return to Republic and face the music, Sean Quinn nephew urged

By Chris Kilpatrick

The nephew of bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn is facing fresh demands to return to the Republic to face justice after damaging new court claims about contracts for multi-million pound payouts to family members.

Peter Darragh Quinn, who lives in Northern Ireland, failed to turn up in court in Dublin in July where he was due to be sentenced for contempt of court.

His cousin, Sean Quinn Jnr, is currently in jail after a judge in the Republic ruled they had both put half a billion euro worth of assets beyond the reach of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the former Anglo-Irish Bank, in breach of a court order.

The bank, which was bailed out by Irish taxpayers, claims the Quinn Group owes it about £2bn.

Sean Quinn Jnr has this week been appealing his jail sentence in a Dublin court. But his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn has never returned to the Republic where he is wanted by the police.

The authorities there cannot force him to serve his sentence if he has left their jurisdiction because he was found guilty on a civil charge, although an arrest warrant has been issued for him.

But in the Supreme Court in Dublin this week a series of new claims of asset stripping of international firms under the control of the Quinn Group have been made by lawyers for IBRC.

They alleged that Peter Darragh Quinn carried out the asset-stripping on behalf of the family.

Evidence retrieved from a damaged computer in Russia, where the Quinn Group controlled a number of firms, shows contracts were created allowing for multi-million euro payments to family members at a time when High Court injunctions were in place.

It is claimed efforts were made to back-date the contracts to make it appear they were generated before the High Court orders which froze the Quinns’ assets.

It was alleged the Quinn family stood to receive more than £200m in severance fees from the Russian firms. It is understood they did not receive the money.

This included €36m (£29m) termination payments for each of Mr Quinn's daughters, Aoife, Ciara and Colette Quinn; €26m (£20.8m) termination payments and an annual salary of €221,947 (£177,000) for Peter Darragh Quinn; €15m (£12m) termination payments for Sean Quinn Jnr and €36m and an annual salary of about €560,000 (£450,000) for Karen Woods, Sean Quinn Jnr’s wife, if her employment ended.

UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott said current legislation should be reviewed to prevent such cross-border loopholes.

“This has been an issue for many years and recently it has come up again — people moving between jurisdictions and extradition,” said Mr Elliott.

“There needs to be a look at the law in both jurisdictions to make sure people who are responsible to the courts are made responsible. Peter Quinn is already wanted by the authorities in Dublin, and with these new claims, he should go there.”

Yesterday there was no sign of life at Peter Quinn’s Fermanagh mansion a short distance from the border. The gates were locked and curtains on windows drawn.

A neighbour said they hadn’t seen Peter Quinn for “a considerable period of time”. She said locals had “no idea” where he is staying.

“I’m not making any judgment whether he’s right or wrong, I think there are a lot of other issues in this case which haven’t been heard.

“I think it would be much more appropriate if the issues around whether they owe money or not was to be heard first.

“It would probably be better if he went and had his case heard.”

Background

At the height of his success, Sean Quinn Snr was the richest man in Ireland, and the 12th richest in the UK. The family controlled businesses worth billions of pounds and employed thousands. In April 2011, control of the Quinn business passed to the IBRC. It claims the Quinns owe it about £2bn following the collapse of Anglo. It is trying to recover the money from their property assets.

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