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€10m Quinn firm swapped for €380 laptop court is told

THE Quinn family has refused to comment on sensational court claims that multi-million euro assets were swapped for €1,000 or a laptop.

Both moves were orchestrated to remove assets owned by the Quinn family beyond the reach of Anglo Irish Bank, the bank has claimed.

A nephew of Sean Quinn bought a $180m (€132m) property company from the Quinn family for just €1,000, the District Court in Nicosia, Cyprus was told.

It also heard how a son-in-law of the businessman, who was once named as Ireland's richest man, was allowed to trade a €380 laptop for a $13.8m (¤10.1m) property company.

A spokesman for the Quinn family last night declined to comment on Anglo's allegations or provide the Quinns' affidavits for the Cypriot case. Sources close to the family stressed that "no findings of impropriety" had been made by any court.



ATTACK

The court heard Anglo's claim as the bank questioned more than $300m (¤220m) worth of transfers away from the Quinn family's international property empire in recent months.

Anglo seized the €500m property portfolio on April 14 after the bank called in €2.8bn worth of Quinn family loans. The Quinn Group manufacturing empire was seized by the bank and other lenders on the same day.

Since then, Anglo alleges that the family has engaged in an "orchestrated attack" to "strip assets" from the international property group and put those assets beyond Anglo's reach.

Before yesterday's hearing, Anglo had told the court that Sean Quinn's nephew Peter Quinn effectively bought a $180m property from the Quinns' international property empire for just €1,000.

The bank claimed it had "new information" about further transfers of value from the property empire, including the $13.4m laptop swap and a "concocted" claim by a Belize company that got $100m from the property empire.

Anglo executive Richard Woodhouse claimed the steps were "taken with the clear and undoubted intention of seeking to ensure that ... there will be no value left" in the companies the bank has seized.

Mr Woodhouse added that he was "gravely concerned" that "identical or similar steps" had been taken to push other major assets in the property portfolio beyond the bank's reach.

The alleged laptop trade involves Russian company Red Sector, which owns a DIY store worth $13.4m. A company seized by Anglo owned 100pc of Red Sector until July 21.

On that date, Stephen Kelly, the husband of Sean Quinn's daughter Aoife, became a 4.9pc shareholder. By August 8, Mr Kenny was listed as the sole shareholder and the stake owned by Anglo's company had been eliminated. "The only consideration provided was a laptop computer worth approximately €380," Anglo told the court, adding that the transfer had taken place to "denude" Anglo of value.

Anglo is also claiming the transfer was in breach of an injunction granted by the Irish courts preventing the Quinn family from interfering with the property empire.



BENEFIT

The sequence of events is claimed to mirror the transfer of ownership of a $180m Russian company to Sean Quinn's nephew, described by Anglo in a previous affidavit.

The latest documents also allege a $100m "concocted" bill that was paid by a bankrupt company in the Quinn empire to a company in Belize which Anglo "believes is owned by the Quinn family or to their benefit".

jlast@herald.ie