Quinn family seeks to access money in frozen accounts to pay lawyers

Sean Quinn pictured last year

Members of former billionaire businessman Sean Quinn's family want permission to vary a freezing order on their accounts so they can pay lawyers working for them in their ongoing action against Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the Commercial Court has heard.

The case, initiated in 2011, is currently being heard by Mr Justice Garrett Simons and may last months.

In that action, the Quinns dispute any liability for share pledges and guarantees related to loans of some €2.34bn advanced by IBRC's predecessor, Anglo Irish Bank, to Quinn companies.

A separate case by IBRC against various Quinn family members and other parties, alleging a conspiracy to strip some €455m assets from Quinn International Property Group (IPG) companies in several countries, is due to be heard after the loans liability action.

In 2012, the Commercial Court imposed freezing orders on the Quinn bank accounts. Since then they have had to make application to the court to vary those orders to allow for living expenses and legal fees to be paid out.

Today, Ross Alyward BL, for the Quinns, said he wished to apply to the court next week to vary the freezing order to enable his clients provide security over a property and to draw down a loan of £250,000stg to facilitate their continued involvement in the main loan liability proceedings.

It was an urgent application given the ongoing nature of those proceedings and the fact that an invoice has come from their solicitor, he said.

Barry O'Donnell SC, for IBRC, opposed the application. He said his client will seek to apply to the court for "substantial reassessment" of the variations already made to the freezing orders.

This was in the light of new information disclosed in relation to the case against two Dubai firms, Senat FZC and Senat Legal Consultancy, which IBRC says are central to the alleged IPG asset-stripping conspiracy.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton said the Quinn application and the IBRC application should be heard together because they related to available resources in the freezing order case.

He adjourned the matter for a week.

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