Ex-billionaire Quinn's son and nephew jailed for contempt
20/07/2012 - 15:17:36
The son and nephew of bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn have today been sentenced to three months in jail for contempt after trying to hide a €500m property portfolio from the former Anglo Irish Bank.
Sean Jnr and his cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, who has a warrant out for his arrest after failing to turn up at the High Court in Dublin for the hearing, have been told they can purge the contempt at any time.
Sean Snr, once Ireland’s richest man who ran up €2.8bn debts gambling on the share price of the bust Anglo Irish Bank, clutched a handkerchief and bowed his head as the sentence was delivered.
Judge Elizabeth Dunne said the contempt was outrageous.
She ruled last month that the three Quinns consciously defied and misled the courts as they shifted family assets as far afield as Ukraine, Russia and Belize.
The Quinns admit that they owe Anglo – rebranded the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation – €455m, but have refused the claims on the rest.
They claim the debts were run up through illegal loans from the bank as Mr Quinn Senior bought shares in Anglo to try to recover stock market losses.
Gardaí moved discreetly into the packed court room 12 of the Four Courts after the judge handed down the jail terms.
During arguments against jailing the men, Brian O’Moore, senior counsel for Quinn Snr, said to was wrong to lock up one member of the family in the hope another would act.
“This almost medieval approach of holding the son to see what the chieftain father will do in terms of freeing the son’s liberty is wholly inadequate,” he said.
Judge Dunne rejected his claim and said that far from medieval it was a practical way of trying to encourage compliance with orders.
The contempt centres on a High Court order made in June 2011 which told the three Quinns not to act to put assets beyond the reach of the former Anglo.
In her ruling on the contempt, the judge said they engaged in complex and costly steps to put the assets of Quinn’s international property group beyond Anglo in a blatant, dishonest and deceitful manner.
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