Business Irish

Sunday 23 July 2017

I have just €11,169 in the bank, says Sean Quinn

Astonishing claim of tycoon who was once worth €5bn

Dearbhail McDonald and Cormac McQuinn

BUSINESSMAN Sean Quinn -- once the country's richest man -- claims he has just €11,169 in three bank accounts, the Irish Independent has learned.

And he says his only car is an eight-year-old Mercedes worth just £4,000 (€4,670).

The astonishing claims are contained in Mr Quinn's bankruptcy petition filed at the High Court in Belfast last week.

But Anglo Irish Bank has alleged in actions in several countries that the Quinn family has been involved in a conspiracy to move up to €500m in property assets beyond the reach of their creditors.

Mr Quinn himself, whose personal wealth was once valued at almost €5bn, has said he handed over all his "business interests" to his five children in 2002.

The palatial Quinn family home at Greaghrahan, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, is not listed among his assets in the bankruptcy petition. It was built six years ago, and was paid for by Mr Quinn's children.

A site at the same address was sold last month to his children for €100,000, and the sale is declared in the petition.

Mr Quinn was made bankrupt last Friday. Anglo says the 64-year-old tycoon owes the bank more than £2bn (€2.3bn), although Mr Quinn disputes that figure.

Last month Anglo -- now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) -- alleged in a Cypriot court that the Quinn family had engaged in an orchestrated effort to put assets beyond the reach of the courts and the bank.

It said the family sold assets worth almost $200m (€148m) to people related to the family in return for a laptop computer and €1,000.

The IBRC has claimed in court proceedings in Dublin this week that the eleventh-hour bankruptcy in the North was "obviously planned".

Details of Mr Quinn's bankruptcy petition obtained by the Irish Independent show that he claims to have three bank accounts, including one in Lisnaskea in Fermanagh that holds just £69.36 (€81).

Mr Quinn, who says he sought bankruptcy protection in Northern Ireland "to try and move forward with the rest of my life", has also claimed that he also has just €10,951 and €137 held in two separate accounts in Cavan.

Dublin's Commercial Court has been told this week that IBRC is to apply to annul Mr Quinn's insolvency proceedings in Northern Ireland.

The bank will claim that the Northern Ireland courts do not have jurisdiction over Mr Quinn.

Forestry

In his bankruptcy petition, Mr Quinn has listed among his assets forestry lands, owned jointly with his wife Patricia and valued at £35,000 (€40,900), as well as the 2004-registered Mercedes-Benz S600.

He has also revealed that he has two pensions, one valued at €160,000, which matured last September, and another -- this one with Quinn Life -- which is valued at almost €40,000.

The businessman, who gambled much of his fortune building up a stake in Anglo, said he had no gambling debts in the last two years.

Mr Quinn also revealed that his monthly outgoings are £2,380 (€2,782). This includes £850 on housekeeping, £1,200 on gas, electricity and heating as well as £80 a month on travel.

Mr Quinn says he has no income as a result of the ongoing dispute with the IBRC, which has hired Gabriel Moss, one of Britain's leading insolvency lawyers, to contest the bankruptcy.

Mr Quinn accepts that he owes around €194m to Anglo for property loans that he cannot repay.

He was stripped of control of his manufacturing and insurance business empire in April.

He said he brought the application for bankruptcy north of the Border because he was born, reared and worked all his life in Co Fermanagh.

But by declaring himself bankrupt in Northern Ireland it also means he only has to wait a year before going back into business -- rather than 12 years in the Republic.

His bankruptcy petition states Mr Quinn has no mortgage but spends £100 (€117) a month on clothing

The only property south of the Border listed among Mr Quinn's assets is a 13.9-hectare plot of land in Mullynagolman, Co Cavan, a short distance from the Slieve Russell Hotel and his palatial home near Ballyconnell.

Land Registry documents show that Mr Quinn and his wife Patricia purchased the land in November 1983.

A local farmer whose land borders Mr Quinn's property told the Irish Independent that Mr Quinn used the land as a tree plantation, though to date the trees haven't been cut down.

Five folios of land owned in Co Fermanagh, subject to a 99-year lease, are also believed to be forestry and the overall value placed on the forestry assets on both sides of the Border is £35,000.

Mr Quinn was declared bankrupt last Friday without any warning to the IBRC.

The bank had proceedings nine days earlier for summary judgment orders for more than €2bn against Mr Quinn.

In an affidavit in a Cypriot court last month, Anglo said Quinn children engaged in "transferring, for approximately €1,000, the assets of Finansstroy worth $180m to Peter Quinn, their first cousin; and the assets of Red Sector worth approximately $13.5m to Aoife Quinn's husband (Stephen Kelly) for a laptop computer".

The ultimate shareholders of the Quinn Group are Mr Quinn's wife Patricia and their five adult children, Aoife, Collette, Brenda, Sean Jnr and Ciara. The IBRC said in court filings this week that it believed Mr Quinn (64) has an option to buy back the shares owned by his children in the Quinn Group companies before he is 70.

Irish Independent

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