The High Court has granted orders freezing the assets owned or controlled by the five adult children of bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn.

The assets of his nephew, Peter Darragh Quinn and two sons in law - Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland - were also frozen.

The orders mean they can not reduce their assets below €50m each except for living expenses of €2,000 each until next Wednesday.

The orders were sought by the former Anglo Irish Bank. 

Lawyers for the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation told the court the bank believes the Quinns have already "misappropriated" assets from their international property group as part of a plan to frustrate the bank's efforts to recover loans of up to €2.8 billion against them.

The bank believes they were prepared to dispose of those assets.

The bank claims the family may have continued to take actions implementing the plan, during the contempt proceedings taken against them in the High Court by the bank. It alleges that transactions had occurred unexpectedly, without notice and were ongoing.

It claims one such transaction occurred while the contempt motion was being heard by the High Court last month.

In sworn documents read to the court, Richard Woodhouse of the IBRC said it was not possible to put a precise value on the assets removed to date by the Quinns or others acting on their behalf, but he believed the value of those removed or at risk of removal came to about €400m.

He said the bank had obtained new information in the past few months, demonstrating the extent to which steps have been taken by the family and their agents to appropriate assets in which the IBRC has an interest.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted the orders sought by the bank. He said the allegations against the defendants were of the "utmost seriousness" and, given the "alleged deviousness", he considered the court should intervene and make the orders sought.

He said what was most unusual and perhaps unique about the bank's application was its basis.

The bank alleged the defendants were guilty of the most serious behaviour and may have continued to take actions implementing the scheme to put assets beyond its reach even during the contempt proceedings against Mr Quinn, his son, Sean and his nephew Peter.

The bank alleged they were in contempt of court orders made in June and July 2011 restraining them from moving assets beyond its reach. The Quinns claimed any steps they took were taken before the court orders were made.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne reserved her decision on those proceedings last month.

This matter will come back before the court next Wednesday, when lawyers for the Quinns will have an opportunity to be present.