Sean Quinn and his wife ordered to repay millions
Once known as Ireland's richest man
The wife of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, until recently Ireland’s richest man worth more than €4.7 billion, has been ordered to repay more than €3 million to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo Irish, after a judge ruled she had no defense to the bank’s claim.
In court Patricia Quinn claimed she was not liable on grounds of undue influence of her husband by virtue of their marital status, but that was described as “an incredible proposition” by Paul Gallagher, senior counsel for IBRC.
Justice Peter Kelly rejected arguments by Patricia Quinn that she was not obliged to repay the €3 million loan made jointly to herself and her husband in late 2006. She had argued that she was a homemaker, and was unduly influenced by her husband.
She said she regularly signed documents he put in front of her without reading them.
The judge said that since the middle of the 18th century, the law allowed for no presumption of undue influence between a wife and husband, and there was also no actual evidence of undue influence by Quinn over Mrs. Quinn, such as bullying behavior.
The judge quoted from another High Court judge, the late Justice Mella Carroll, who had said in another case 25 years ago that the day was long past when married women could be classified akin to infants and persons of unsound mind and evade liability by arguing they were only concerned with minding their house and children.
The judge also rejected Mrs. Quinn’s claims of a defense on grounds she did not understand what she was signing and did not benefit from the €3 million loan.
The truth was, the judge said, Mrs. Quinn gave no thought to what she was signing but that could not be a defense. Even a glance at the documents would have made clear to all but the illiterate they related to a borrowing transaction.
The bank claimed the loan was to go towards final decorative costs for the Quinn home at Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, but the court heard that Mr. Quinn had directed the money be paid into an account of one of his companies, Quinn Manufacturing Ltd.
The Commercial Court heard that Mrs. Quinn had been a director of 63 Quinn Group companies in the Republic, 28 Quinn companies in the U.K. and secretary of about 10 companies.
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