Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn avoids a jail sentence despite blocking the state bank from seizing £400m worth of assets by claiming bankruptcy after being found guilty of contempt of court.
In front of a packed courtroom in Dublin, prosecution lawyers sought punitive measures against Sean Quinn. But Justice Elizabeth Dunne effectively gave Mr Quinn a second chance to reveal his assets to the former Anglo Irish bank, now the state owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).
Mr Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were charged earlier in the week with contempt of court for trying to hide a property portfolio worth 500m euros (£404m) from the state after pleading bankruptcy.
The sentence means that no major figure has to date been jailed over the collapse of Ireland's economy despite billions of euros in losses that have not been accounted for.
I find it disappointing, at even this late stage, there seems to be no acknowledgment of the wrongdoing that has been done by the respondents in relation to specific matters that have been done. Justice Elizabeth Dunne
In delivering the non-punitive sentence, the judge said: "I've no doubt the first function of the court is to consider coercion and then after there's a response to coercive orders there maybe an issue in relation to punitive measures. It will depend on the degree of cooperation in relation to your clients."
They have been ordered to disclose all of their global assets and that they resign from any boards or managerial role within the Quinns' International Property Group. They were also ordered to withdraw any other legal proceedings aimed at taking their assets from the reach of the bank.
The court would not "sit idly by" if assets were stripped for a second time, the judge warned.
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Sean Quinn initially registered for bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, where the status lasts for one year rather than the 12-year-term in the Republic . This was annulled in January this year, and he was declared bankrupt in the Republic on 16 January 2012.
Under pursuit by Anglo Irish
Mr Quinn's 4bn euro business empire collapsed after an investment in Anglo Irish Bank, that was nationalised after the country's credit crisis.
The IBRC is now pursuing the businessman for debts worth a total of 2.8bn euros (£2m approx) after running up unprecedented losses through secret stock investments. The IBRC is also pursuing over ten other lawsuits in an attempt to reclaim debts.
During a previous day at the hearing, the judge was damning in her assessment of the three men’s attitudes and behaviour, saying they remained dishonest and unrepentant.
After hearing arguments for coercing the Quinns to co-operate, she added: "I find it disappointing, at even this late stage, there seems to be no acknowledgment of the wrongdoing that has been done by the respondents in relation to specific matters that have been done."
The issues the Quinns were found in contempt of court on were linked to ownership and transfer of ownership of the 114m euro (£92m) Kutuzoff Tower in Moscow; the 62m euro (£50m) Ukrania shopping centre in Ukraine; and a 64m euro (£51m) office block in Hyderabad, India.
The Quinns can either appeal the judgement to the Supreme Court or agree to cooperate and help the IBRC recover its money.