independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn: ‘I’m not a gambler but I feel stupid’

Former billionaire Sean Quinn

Bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn has denied that he is a gambler despite his expensive dealings in shares of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

“I wouldn’t see myself as a gambler,” he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny in an interview adding that he may have been greedy and that he feels stupid.

“I started off in 1993 with one lorry, I wasn’t one of those guys buying a business and gearing it up. “Six years ago I stupidly got involved in shares in Anglo Irish bank.  I feel stupid.... maybe I had too big a holding in Anglo. But I wasn’t the only one...it was seen as very profitable.”

Mr Quinn, once one of Ireland’s richest men with a business empire that once stretched across the globe involving glass to cement, ended a nine week jail sentence earlier this year for contempt of court, admitted today that he has made mistakes in the past.

Mr Quinn’s decision to spend billions building up a secret stake in the bank using complicated financial instruments called Contracts for Difference (CFDs) spectacularly went wrong at the beginning of the financial crisis.

Back in 2008, the Financial Regulator hit Quinn Insurance with a record €3.2m fine.

Mr Quinn, who was personally fined €200,000, stood down as director and chairman and the fine related to a €288m loan in May 2008 to cover CFD losses.

The banking sector soon collapsed as well as the economy but Mr Quinn said he was as shocked as anyone else when that happened.

“The government went first, the banks went second. I didn’t see this coming, this avalanche, this tsunami and they brought everyone else with them.”

Currently there are a number of ongoing legal proceedings involving the Quinn family. The main case is against IBRC, formerly Anglo, in which they claim no liability for billions of loans which were advanced by Anglo to Quinn companies in 2007 and 2008 and proceedings initiated in 2011 by IBRC alleging a conspiracy to place Quinn assets out of the reach of the bank.

When asked how the cases were being funded, Mr Quinn said there was huge support around for the Quinns.

“There is a lot of support for the Quinn family and we have been very supportive in many areas over the past 30 or 40 years.”

Mr Quinn also defended his decision to seek bankruptcy protection in Northern Ireland, a place he said he has worked all his life.

In 2012 he was eventually declared bankrupt in Dublin after failing in his bid to be declared bankrupt in a Belfast court.

While he admitted mistakes have been made, he belives his family has been hard done by.

“I have made mistakes but I feel that the people who have done things to me - they should be ashamed."

He remains positive, however, he said and is thankful for his family which he says will also be vindicated and he will continue to fight in their favour.

“I believe that Sean Quinn wouldn’t  be a man at all if he let someone steal his family’s assets.”

He also said the now award-winning ‘Anglo Tapes’, as exposed by the Irish Independent, Sunday Independent and Independent.ie, were also of interest to his family.

“The tapes show a disrespect for the law and for the regulator.”

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