Belfast Telegraph

Sean Quinn son may get second spell in jail

By Dearbhail McDonald

The jailed son of bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn is set to be released from prison tomorrow.

But Sean Quinn Jnr, who has completed a three-month jail term in Mountjoy Prison for contempt, could face another spell in jail.

The Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the 33-year-old's conviction for contempt of court and his three-month prison sentence, which is due to expire tomorrow.

The majority Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham, said the High Court was entitled to jail the former Belfry Club owner for three months over his involvement in a controversial $500,000 payment to a Ukranian woman.

Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman dissented from the five-judge court and said he would have allowed Sean Quinn Jnr's appeal in its entirety.

The Supreme Court ruled that the IBRC (the former Anglo Irish Bank) is allowed to make a fresh application to the courts to keep Mr Quinn Jnr in jail until he purges his contempt over the payment of $500,000 to Larissa Puga.

The payment to Ms Puga, the general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, was made on the eve of the takeover of the company by the IBRC and the ability of the bank to make a fresh application in respect of the contempt raises the prospect of a new sentence for Mr Quinn.

It was previously indicated that Mr Quinn Jnr could purge his contempt if he paid that sum to the bank.

Although Mr Quinn Jnr lost his appeal against conviction and sentence for the single contempt complaint against him, he was successful in having an indefinite jail term for non-compliance with a series of coercive orders imposed against him set aside. The 30 orders were aimed at reversing a range of measures designed to strip key property assets from the IPG and place them beyond the reach of the bank.

The majority Supreme Court, which will give its written judgments next week, found for Mr Quinn in his appeal against the finding that he breached all 30 coercive orders. But it upheld orders requiring him to disclose his assets and for the appointment of receivers over his assets.

Sean Quinn Snr, Mr Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn, Mr Quinn's nephew and former head of the IPG, said they could not comply with the coercive orders and said many of the events in Russia and the Ukraine -- home to major properties -- were now beyond their control.

The upholding of the contempt finding made against Mr Quinn Jnr does not augur well for his father. The former tycoon is also facing a jail term for his role in placing assets in the family's ?500m strong international property group (IPG) beyond the reach of the IBRC.

Tomorrow, High Court Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne, who last July found all three men guilty of contempt, is due to review developments since she made orders to jail Mr Quinn Jnr.

Jailing Mr Quinn Jnr, Judge Dunne also found Mr Quinn Snr and Peter Darragh Quinn in contempt over the Puga payment and other measures and ruled they too had failed to comply with the coercive orders.

Peter Darragh Quinn did not attend court and has remained at his home in Northern Ireland.

Judge Dunne said in July she would not jail Mr Quinn Snr at that stage so as to leave him free to take steps to reverse the asset-stripping scheme and it remains a possibility that Mr Quinn Snr will be jailed.

It was argued on behalf of the Quinns that they could not comply with the coercive orders for various reasons, including that events in Russia and Ukraine had moved outside their control and in to the control of lawyers and others in those countries.

Mr Quinn Jnr was permitted to leave prison to attend court for the brief ruling.

He was accompanied by his wife, Karen Woods, sisters Aoife and Colette, and brothers-in-law Niall McPartland and Stephen Kelly.

IBRC was represented by its CEO, Mike Aynsley, and senior executive Richard Woodhouse.

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