The family of bankrupt business man Sean Quinn have been given the green light to continue in their legal action against the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The High Court decided last Friday, March 15 that they have the power to allow existing actions against Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to proceed. Confusion had arisen as to whether the courts had jurisdiction to lift the “immediate stay” in the new IBRC Act halting all proceedings against the bank. About a third of existing cases before the Commercial Court are against IBRC and the stay has caused uncertainty about whether any steps may be taken in relation to them, with several judges raising the issue since the Act came into force.
Lawyers for the Quinns applied last month for the stay on their case to be lifted, in his judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Ryan said it was “impossible to conceive” the Oireachtas had, via the stay in Section 6.2. a of the Act, terminated the Quinns’ case “in an instant” and deprived them of the right to apply to court. Any such interpretation would involve “extensive and substantial interference with constitutional rights in modes that are discriminatory and unjustified and unnecessary in the circumstances”.
The decision means the action by Patricia Quinn and the Quinn children can proceed once the criminal proceedings against former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean Fitzpatrick and two senior Anglo executives have concluded. The Quinns allege they have no liability for some €2.34 billion of loans advanced by Anglo to Quinn companies on grounds those loans were unlawfully made to prop up the bank’s share price.
The Quinns are expected to apply shortly for permission to join the Department of Finance and Central Bank, as regulator, as co-defendants with IBRC to their case.
In a different case, Sean Quinn Junior provided statements of Russian bank accounts to the High Court in an effort to purge his contempt. Quinn Jnr was found in contempt of court last year for payments to Larissa Puga, the former general director of the Quinn Properties Ukraine.
The High Court heard last week that Sean Quinn Junior is very anxious to purge his contempt and provided statements of Russian bank accounts held by him and other family members to IBRC.
IBRC have asked for time to examine the statement and the bank also sought the Ocean Bank statements to see if the Quinns had revealed all details of their assets and involvement with the IPG firms.
The Judge adjourned the matter for mention on April 11 when both sides could file sworn statements on the matter.