Saturday 3 December 2016

‘I will never create another job’ - bankrupt Sean Quinn

Brian Hutton

Published 16/01/2012 | 12:45

SEAN Quinn, once Ireland's richest man, today admitted his business career was over after being declared bankrupt in the Irish Republic.

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Accusing the former Anglo Irish Bank, now rebranded as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), of pursuing a vendetta against him, he insisted a more reasonable approach could have been taken to his near €3bn debts.

"Today Anglo achieved their goal of ensuring that I will never create another job," he said.

The ex-billionaire tycoon had declared himself bankrupt in Belfast - under less stringent UK insolvency legislation - last month, claiming to have assets of about £50,000 (€60,448) and the right to a small pension of about £10,000 a year.

But IBRC had the ruling in Northern Ireland overturned last week and immediately brought proceedings against the man once known as "The Mighty Quinn" at the High Court in Dublin.

Before a packed court number six in the Four Courts complex today, Mr Quinn's solicitor Gavin Simons said his client would not challenge the application.

Mr Quinn, who did not turn up for the brief hearing, later issued a statement claiming the state-owned IBRC had no better chance of recovering money from him for the Irish taxpayer as a result.

"Given the expense incurred by Anglo in having my Northern Ireland bankruptcy overturned and the fact that today's judgment in no way improves Anglo's prospects of recovering money for the taxpayer, their actions clearly prove that it is a personal vendetta," he said.

"The position of the Irish taxpayer could have improved significantly, by a more reasonable approach to the issues involved."

Under stricter Irish insolvency law, 63-year-old Mr Quinn will be frozen out of business for up to 12 years. He could have emerged from bankruptcy in the North after 12 months.

The former insurance, cement, glass and property magnate had said he was working on new ventures before the ruling.

Focus is expected to switch to some of his family, with whom IBRC is also involved in ongoing disputes over ownership of overseas assets.

Mr Quinn had racked up debts of €2.8bn in secret share deals in former rogue lender Anglo Irish during the Celtic Tiger boom.

By last April he had lost all control of his business empire, but before his downfall his story was a classic rags-to-riches tale.

Famously starting out with a £100 loan to dig gravel on his father's farm, at the height of his success he was worth a reputed €4.72bn.

His career as a serial entrepreneur was effectively ended today when Mr Simons said the former businessman would not challenge the IBRC proceedings, which argued his main centre of interests were in the Republic.

Mr Quinn, who lives in Co Cavan, south of the border, had argued in Belfast that he operated from an office in his native village of Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne said she would open bankruptcy proceedings against Mr Quinn in accordance with Irish insolvency regulations.

She asked that he make himself available to the court to be officially served with bankruptcy papers.

Mr Simons said he would do so and arrangements for a meeting with a court official would be made in the coming days.

Mr Quinn faces a court order barring him from running a company until he is 77.

IBRC denied they were engaged in a vendetta against Mr Quinn.

"It is disappointing to note that Mr Quinn continues to assert that his bankruptcy is a matter of a personal vendetta by IBRC against him and his family," a spokesman said.

"This simply is not true."

The spokesman said the bank's sole intention is to recover as much as possible from Mr Quinn's remaining assets.

"It is this singular focus that is in the best interests of the State," he added.

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