Quinn family seek permission to sue FitzPatrick

Monday 21 October 2013 18.36
Sean FitzPatrick was adjudicated bankrupt in 2010
Sean FitzPatrick was adjudicated bankrupt in 2010

Family members of bankrupt former billionaire Seán Quinn have sought permission from the High Court to sue former Anglo Irish Bank Chairman Sean FitzPatrick for damages.

The Quinns require court permission to sue Mr FitzPatrick because he has been adjudicated bankrupt.

Earlier this month, the High Court was told the Quinns intended to bring proceedings against 11 other former Anglo directors, and the Central Bank and Department of Finance in their capacity as regulators, over loans of €2.34bn allegedly unlawfully issued by Anglo to Quinn companies during 2007 and 2008.

The Quinns allege those loans were intended to fund margin calls on Contract for Difference positions held by the family in Anglo shares.

The High Court was told today Patricia Quinn and her five adult children claim that, between September 2007 and July 2008, Mr FitzPatrick conspired with others to enter into unlawful contracts.

Stephen Walsh BL, for the Quinns, said they were applying, under Section 136 of the Bankruptcy Act, for permission to bring the damages action against Mr FitzPatrick. 

The alleged actions occurred prior to Mr FitzPatrick being adjudicated as a bankrupt in 2010.

The court was told the claim may not be brought against Mr FitzPatrick's estate, which is administered by the Official Assignee in Bankruptcy, Chris Lehane.

Mr Walsh said the claim may be possible against an insurance policy concerning Mr FitzPatrick in his capacity as Chairman of Anglo.

The Quinns did not know whether this insurance policy existed or not or if it would cover the claim, he added.

Mr Justice John Cooke said he would need time to consider the application and adjourned the matter for two weeks.

The Quinns have also initiated proceedings against other former Anglo directors.

They are Declan Quilligan, Wetherby Place, London; Patrick Whelan, Coast Road, Malahide, Co Dublin; Lar Bradshaw, Church Road, Killiney, Co Dublin; Fintan Drury, Old Russian Village, Kilquade, Co Wicklow; Noel Harwerth, Grosvenor Square, London; Anne Heraty, Highfield Road, Rathgar, Dublin; Michael Jacob, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin; Willie McAteer, Auburn Villas, Rathgar, Dublin; Gerard William McGann, Stonehouse, Donnybrook, Dublin;  Edmond Francis Sullivan, Linden Fields, Grove Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin and David Drumm of Old Colony Road, Wellesley, Massachusetts, US.

The Quinns allege the former directors either collectively or individually authorised the advancing of loans to Quinn companies and this was illegal and/or wrongful and caused damage to the Quinns.

They are claiming damages against all defendants for alleged conspiracy, breach of duty including statutory duty and fiduciary duty, negligence, misfeasance in public office.

Mr Walsh said the Quinns intend their proceedings against the regulators and former directors will be consolidated with their existing proceedings against Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (formerly Anglo) in which they contend they are not liable for the €2.34bn loans on grounds those were unlawfully made to prop up Anglo's then plummeting share price.