Northern Ireland

Evidence claims Sean Quinn Jr had control over company

Sean Quinn jnr
Image caption Sean Quinn Jr is appealing against his conviction and imprisonment for contempt of court

An Irish court has been presented with significant new evidence about the alleged business dealings of the jailed son of a former billionaire.

Sean Quinn Jr, whose father Sean Quinn was once the richest man in Ireland, is appealing against his conviction and imprisonment for contempt of court.

The evidence, recovered from a computer hard drive, allegely shows he continued to have control over disputed property assets throughout the contempt hearing.

Sean Quinn Jr was jailed in July.

He was sentenced when a judge ruled that he, his father, and cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, were in contempt of court for putting millions of pounds worth of international property beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish bank.

'Fraudulent transactions'

The Quinn family is locked in a bitter legal battle with the bailed out bank, which is now controlled by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Lawyers acting for the IBRC presented the new evidence to Dublin's Supreme Court on Wednesday - the second day of Sean Quinn Jr's appeal hearing.

They said the material was uncovered from a damaged hard drive of a Russian company.

The court was told the evidence showed fraudulent transactions, the back-dating of documents and bogus reports.

The IBRC's barrister, Sean Gallagher SC, said the documents recovered showed that the Quinn family were handling monies, including rent, from international companies while contempt proceedings were before the High Court in Dublin earlier this year.

The allegation contradicts Sean Quinn Jnr's evidence to the High Court that his involvement with the companies at the centre of alleged asset-stripping measures had ended a year before.

"The evidence demonstrates they were in control of companies long after they said they ceased to be in control of" said Mr Gallagher.

'Without parallel'

The barrister for IBRC said the case was about the rule of law and the administration of justice.

He outlined a number of alleged examples of what he described as a "deliberate and complex fraud" involving IPG companies.

"It was done by means so serious and beyond the administration of justice that it is without exception and without parallel."

The court was also told that IBRC does not accept claims by the Quinn family that more than €400 million international property group assets are gone and can never be recovered.

It is expected that the court will be told more detail of the sums of money involved on Thursday and next week.

Earlier on Wednesday, the judge hearing Mr Quinn Jr's appeal told him he could not complain about being in prison.

'Secretly recorded'

Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell said: "He committed a contempt of court. If he does not purge that contempt he does not remedy it.

"How can he complain about being committed to prison?"

Image caption Sean Quinn Sr was once Ireland's richest man

Lawyers for Sean Quinn Jnr told the Supreme Court that the "practical approach" taken by a High Court judge in jailing him indefinitely until the contempt is purged by his father was "legally incorrect".

Brian O'Moore SC said that there was no precedent before the court to jail a defendant to force the hand of another.

The barrister also referred to the transcript of a secretly recorded video of a meeting in Kiev on 21 July which, IBRC bank claims, showed Mr Quinn Jr was involved in an asset-stripping scheme in the Ukraine.

Mr O'Moore said he was not aware who had passed the video recording of the meeting to a newspaper but said it was "given by somebody who clearly has a hostile approach towards the Quinn family".

The barrister was also asked if he objected to the evidence of the video recording being considered by the court.

"It is difficult to unscramble the omelette and object to it not being shown to the court, but the transcript of the meeting makes it plain that the meeting was fraught," he said.

At the height of his success, Sean Quinn Sr was once the richest man in Ireland, and the 12th richest man in the UK.

The family controlled businesses worth billions of pounds and employed thousand of people.

In April 2011, control of the Quinn business empire passed into the hands of the IBRC.

The IBRC claims the Quinns owe it about £2bn following the collapse of Anglo Irish bank.

It is trying to recover the money from their property assets on behalf of Irish taxpayers.