Sean Quinn fails to halt Irish bankruptcy move

Thursday 22 December 2011 23.52
Sean Quinn injunction request denied
Sean Quinn injunction request denied

Businessman Sean Quinn has failed in a legal bid to have new bankruptcy proceedings against him in the Republic of Ireland put on hold.

A High Court judge in Belfast refused his application to restrain the Irish Bank Resulution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, from serving him with a summons.

The court was told that Mr Quinn refused to open the gates of his home in Co Cavan to accept a bankruptcy summons last Friday.

With today's injunction request denied, papers are now set to be served at his home in Ballyconnell.

He will then have 14 days to either seek to have the summons set aside or else pay alleged debts in excess of €2bn.

At that stage the IBRC is expected to petition for Mr Quinn to be declared bankrupt in Dublin.

Mr Justice Deeny declined to grant an injunction after being told IBRC would ask for its petition to be adjourned until he has ruled on an attempt to have the tycoon's bankruptcy in Northern Ireland annulled.

The 65-year-old, once Ireland's richest man, was stripped of control of his manufacturing and insurance business empire in April.

He obtained a voluntary adjudication at the High Court in Belfast in November.

By making the declaration in Northern Ireland it means he only has to wait 12 months before going back into business - rather than 12 years in the Republic.

But the bank heavily rejects his claim to have been based north of the border.

Judgment is expected in the New Year on IBRC's application for the order to be set aside due to its contention that his centre of main interest is in the Republic.

In court in Belfast today it emerged that a bankruptcy summons was drawn up in Dublin last week.

Although it had not been served on Mr Quinn, the new intention was to deliver it to his home address.

The businessman's barrister, Paul McLaughlin, urged the court to restrain the action pending a further order.

He claimed the bank was attempting to divert attention in the case to the Republic.

Mr McLaughlin also contended that service would trigger a 14-day countdown to the "guillotine" of a petition.

But the judge pointed out that would only lead to a claim that a self-declared bankrupt had committed a similar act south of the border.

"It's a rather paper guillotine," he said.

David Dunlop, for IBRC, argued that Mr Quinn's application was misconceived. He stressed there was no attempt by his client to "abdicate" the jurisdiction of the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Dunlop confirmed that no attempt would be made to have any petition determined until the centre of main interest issue is resolved.

Mr Justice Deeny held that there was no basis for concluding the bank was acting in bad faith.

"They have said they will commence proceedings but will not take the crucial step of seeking an order of bankruptcy in the Republic until the determination of the annulment application before this court.

"On those grounds I refuse the application."

Quinn Group premises damaged in incident

Gardaí and the PSNI are investigating what appears to be the latest attack on premises that were formerly part of the business group owned by Seán Quinn.

Part of a wall at the staff canteen at Derrylin was demolished after a truck was apparently driven in to it last night.

Workers had already gone home at the time and there were no injuries.

The canteen is opposite the headquarters of the Quinn Group in Co Fermanagh and just across the border from Ballyconnell in Co Cavan.

The area has been sealed off by the PSNI as they investigate the circumstances behind what happened.

Over recent months there have been numerous attacks on Quinn Group property.

Vehicles have been burned and power lines cut to businesses in the group, while last August two cars at the Co Meath home of the company's head were set on fire.

Following this attack, Mr Quinn spoke out and disassociated himself from the incidents.

There have been fears that the attacks were part of an orchestrated campaign against the management of the Quinn Group.