The children of former businessman Sean Quinn have arranged to settle with the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation following litigation for a suit for €440 million. Under this settlement, each of the five adult Quinn children – Sean Junior, Aoife, Brenda, Ciara, and Collette – may still be liable for over €88 million. A conditional judgement also hangs over this settlement, outlined by Justice Garrett Simon who presided over the case. Both parties devised this settlement while awaiting judgment from Justice Simons over whether the children could please undue influence on their father’s part. As part of this deal, the Quinn progeny must cooperate with the State in helping to recover and liquidate €455 million worth of assets which Anglo Irish Bank lay claim to, following Quinn’s insolvency. The parties have also agreed to pay their own legal costs.
Bernard Dunleavy SC, counsel to the Quinn children, said that all of the proceedings had been resolved and that the case would be struck out. Paul Gallagher SC, the former Attorney General and counsel to IBRC, said that, provided the children cooperated with the State, there was a stay placed on potential cost orders for €88,157,351 on each child. Justice Simons in the High Court praised the deal, calling it a “sensible outcome”.
The assets, which are now the subject of the Quinn offspring’s settlement deal, comprise several bank accounts located overseas, some of which contain several million. These accounts are among the last remaining assets in the Quinns’ property portfolio. Outside of these, all of the major properties of the Quinns’ business empire now belong to the IBRC.
This settlement marks what may be the denouement of the Anglo-Quinn saga. To date, estimates of the total amount the State has spent on litigation, international investigations, and expenses regarding the fallout from Sean Quinn’s mishaps numbers approximately €170 million. The Quinn children’s case is the last of the major cases pending between the State and members of the Quinn family. With its conclusion, the State may now draw a line in the sand. The IBRC has previously been used largely as an instrument of litigation to track down lost assets and sanction wrongdoers. Now, however, the State and the Quinn family are no longer antagonists battling in the courtroom but allies, who shall hopefully clean up the rest of the mess left behind. Of course, there is a sting in this tale. The State has pumped €29.3 billion into the IBRC. Its claim against Anglo amounts to a mere €1.12 billion (though it is likely to recoup this). The outstanding properties of the Quinn family are also €455 million. This is also not counting the gargantuan expenses in the form of legal fees, liquidators’ fees, and the inquiry surrounding the IBRC. While the State has seemingly scored a victory, it appears to be a largely Pyrrhic one.
By Daniel Forde – Law Editor