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Lidings handling the largest individual bankruptcy case in European history


 
In 2006-2007, when Ireland’s richest man, Seán Quinn, came to Russia to lay the cornerstones at the construction sites of massive commercial real estate properties in a number of Russian regions, no one could have imagined that in three short years, these same properties would have been virtually stripped away from him – or that the management companies in charge of them would be on the verge of bankruptcy. 
 
 
As the richest businessman in Ireland, Seán Quinn sat at the helm of a financial-industrial group encompassing mining enterprises, chemical concerns, insurance companies and real estate holdings worth some USD 6 bln. Yet, despite this enormous wealth, the empire found itself teetering on the edge of collapse as a result of risky moves played with over-extended, high-debt-load financial instruments at the height of the global crisis.
 
Mr. Quinn’s Russian asset portfolio was of such considerable financial interest to the former billionaire that losing it was, by all appearances, most definitely not part of his plans. The business centers Kutuzoff Tower (46,000 m²) on Ivana Franko Street and the Caspian (17,000 m²), not far from Vodny Stadion metro station in Moscow, the logistics park Q-Park (200,000 m²) in Kazan, the shopping center Aurora (70,000 m²) in Ufa, and the hypermarkets StroyArsenal in Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Naberezhnye Chelny were all carved out from the ownership structure of their former proprietor in order to prevent the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, a public corporation, from recovering the money that had previously been disbursed to Mr. Quinn and used, among other things, to finance the construction of properties in Russia. 
 
Since 2011, Lidings law firm has been representing the interests of the special-purpose treasury company Demesne Investments Limited in Russia, used by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation as a vehicle for the implementation of Seán Quinn’s many financial projects.
 
The three years of working on this transnational bankruptcy project resulted in the formulation and application of practices that currently represent precedent-setting principles – not only in terms of insolvency cases, but also with respect to corporate disputes and matters involving the official recognition and enforcement of foreign court decisions. Lidings lawyers worked in close cooperation with attorneys in Dublin, Belfast, London, Road Town (BVI) and Panama on obtaining expert opinions and witness statements for the Russian courts, going on to pursue information disclosure and take part in the deposition of key witnesses within the framework of foreign legal proceedings. 
 
Just within the scope of bankruptcy proceedings in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Vladimir, Kazan, Samara, Ekaterinburg, Ufa, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, Lidings lawyers have managed in three short years to handle more than 600 lawsuits, resulting in the wresting of control over the respective bankruptcy proceedings and the return of the concerned assets to the client’s corporate control.
 
Informational letters and Resolutions of the Plenum of the Supreme Arbitration (State Commercial) Court of the Russian Federation from 2011 include examples from the bankruptcy cases handled by Lidings involving the former Russian companies of Mr. Seán Quinn. 
 

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