$45m debt 'previously undisclosed'

Published Thursday, 13 September 2012
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Previously undisclosed transfers of a $45 million debt associated with a Kiev shopping centre - once owned by bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn - point to a "serious misuse" of High Court processes, a judge has said.

$45m debt 'previously undisclosed'
The judge refused the bid by the British Virgin Islands-registered firm. (© UTV)

Mr Justice McCloskey refused a bid by British Virgin Islands-registered company Lyndhurst Developments to appeal his earlier ruling which returned control of the loan to the former Anglo Irish Bank, declaring that the firm seems to have had no interest for the last nine months.

Further assignments of the debt from Lyndhurst to Ukrainian companies Zenith and Elegant Invest appear to have taken place in that period, the court heard.

Lawyers for the rebranded Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) argued that the transfers amounted to further attempts to place the multi-million pound asset beyond its reach.

They also claimed the Northern Ireland High Court may have been seriously misled if the assignment took place last December.

Proceedings took place this year on the assumption that Lyndhurst still held the rights to the debt owed by the shopping mall's owners, Univermag.

Mr Justice McCloskey pointed out that the new evidence was not available when he delivered his earlier judgment in May.

He reiterated his finding that those responsible for the loan assignment were taking part in "an orchestrated, elaborate and illicit charade".

The judge stated: "With each passing phase of this litigation, the correctness of this finding is vindicated and fortified."

He added: "There is clear prima facie evidence that Lyndhurst has had no interest in the Univermag debt since December 2011."

Permission for Lyndhurst to appeal his earlier ruling was refused on the basis that any challenge would have no realistic prospect of success.

Mr Justice McCloskey further stated: "Independent of my primary conclusion, there is clear prima facie evidence that the process of this court has been seriously misused by Lyndhurst."

The verdict is the latest stage in a protracted legal battle over wider allegations by the bank that assets were stripped to prevent it securing the £2bn it claims to be owed by the Quinn family.

A chain of loan assignments were under scrutiny in the case.

Fermanagh-based firm Demesne Investments, of which Mr Quinn is a former director, had been owed $45m by Univermag.

But in April 2011 Demesne transferred its rights to the debt to Innishmore Consultancy, another Northern Ireland company run by Mr Quinn's nephew Peter Quinn.

From there the loan was transferred on to Lyndhurst last October. Now, however, it has emerged that two further assignments allegedly took place.

© UTV News
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