Ireland’s bankrupt billionaires have told a Dublin court they are at their ‘wits’ end’ as they try to deal with the bank chasing them for assets worth millions of dollars.
The Quinn family told the Commercial Court on Friday that they feel ‘crucified’ by their dealings with the former Anglo Irish Bank.
The sons and daughter of Sean Quinn, once Ireland’s richest man but now broke, want a mediator appointed to handle their bitter legal dispute over the location of millions of euro of assets of the Quinn international property group.
The Irish Times reports that the Quinns have opposed an application by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo, for a court cross-examination of the Quinn offspring.
The bank want to question the Quinns and members of their extended family under oath to establish if they have disclosed full details of asset-stripping measures.
Sean Quinn’s family members say they have already done so but the bank claims otherwise according to the report.
The Irish Times states that Judge Peter Kelly told the court that, while he is a strong supporter of mediation, it is not appropriate at this stage given the bank’s opposition due to its belief the Quinns had not complied with court orders to fully disclose assets.
He promised that he would ‘do all he could’ to assist a mediated resolution later in the case if it is possible.
The bank’s legal representative Barry O’Donnell claimed: “There is no proper environment for mediation.”
He claimed that some of the Quinns had sworn matters that turned out to be materially untrue and there continued to be ‘strong non-compliance’ with disclosure orders.
O’Donnell also said it was wrong to say the bank had not engaged with the family. He said it had, but the engagement was ‘unproductive’.
The Quinn entourage in court included Sean Quinn Jnr, just a week after he was freed from Mountjoy prison after serving time on contempt charges.
Sean Quinn senior’s son-in-law Niall McPartland, led the objections to cross-examination and told the court that mediation was a cheaper and faster way of addressing the issues.
He said: “The family has told the bank for the past year and a half that we do not have the assets and we can’t get them.
“We are at our wits’ end” and in a very difficult position. We offered to assist the bank in its effort to recover assets but it has not taken that up and the constant bombardment of court orders is not helping.”