High Court jails Sean Quinn's son and nephew
The High Court has issued committal orders for former billionaire Sean Quinn's son Sean and his nephew Peter Quinn for contempt of court.
The two will be jailed for three months. They can apply to exit jail if they can show they have purged their contempt, Judge Elizabeth Dunne said in the High Court.
Judge Dunne left over punitive orders on Sean Quinn Sr in order to give him time to comply with court orders.
She earlier issued a bench warrant for the arrest of his nephew Peter for his failure to appear in court today and his whereabouts are still unknown.
The contempt hearing against the three Quinn's was told earlier by a lawyer for the Irish Bank Resolution Corp that the bank is not happy with the level of co-operation it has received from Sean Quinn in disclosing assets.
Video footage shot by IBRC showing a meeting in the Ukraine in January this year in which Peter Quinn appears to express his willingness to lie to the High Court, was shown to the court after the case resumed following a break for lunch.
In the video, Peter Quinn is quoted as laughing and saying "I'd have to lie, that wouldn't overly worry me".
Paul Gallagher, senior counsel for the former Anglo-Irish Bank which is chasing the Quinns' €500 million international property empire, said it appeared the men were happy to go to jail for a short time and keep their assets.
Sean Quinn Jr and Peter Quinn were ordered to be jailed by Judge Dunne after she found that they had not complied with the court’s orders for them to reverse steps they had taken to put international assets out of the reach of IBRC, the former Anglo Irish Bank. Counsel for the Quinns had argued today that jailing them would be counter-productive if the court wants to see the asset transfers reversed.
Sean Quinn's nephew did not show up for the start of hearing due to health reasons. Lawyers for the Quinns revealed that a voicemail had been left on a solicitor's phone at 10.40am this morning stating that he was sick and unable to attend the sentencing hearing. Legal representatives have been unable to contact Peter Quinn since the message was left. Judge Dunne said she noted that Peter Darragh Quinn was not too sick to sign off on his affidavit at 4am this morning.
Quinn's lawyer told the hearing that the Quinn's are appealing the High Court's previous contempt ruling to the Supreme Court before he outlined the ways he believed the Quinn's had attempted to comply with the court's ruling.
In June, Quinn, once the country’s richest man, was found in contempt of court and told he may face “punitive and coercive” sanctions unless he took the necessary corrective action by midnight tonight.
Even after the court ordered them to stop last year, Sean Quinn, his son and his nephew, continued to place assets outside the reach of IBRC, the High Court previously found.
“It will be very difficult to persuade me that there would not be a punitive element as well as a coercive element” to remedies to the contempt, Judge Elizabeth Dunne said last month. “Sean Quinn was a witness who was evasive and uncooperative.”
The Quinns “engaged in a complex, complicated and, no doubt, costly, series of steps designed to put the assets beyond the reach of Anglo, in a blatant, dishonest and deceitful manner,” the judge said. “The behavior of the respondents outlined in evidence before me is as far removed from the concept of honor and respectability as it is possible to me.”
In April of last year, Anglo Irish seized control of the equity interest in Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd., with interests spanning from making glass bottles to radiators. Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group and Anglo Irish also took over Quinn Insurance as Quinn was ousted from the debt-laden empire built up from the sand quarrying operation he set up on his father’s farm in 1973.
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