Sunday 23 July 2017

Former billionaire Quinn gets 'modest' £10,000 state pension from UK, court told

Sean Quinn arrives at the High Court in Belfast for the second day of
his bankruptcy hearing
Sean Quinn arrives at the High Court in Belfast for the second day of his bankruptcy hearing

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

IRELAND'S former richest man Sean Quinn is drawing a "modest" state pension from the British government.

Mr Quinn, who turned 65 last September, is now claiming the pension of less than £10,000 (€12,000) a year.

The bankrupt businessman, whose personal fortune was once valued at almost €4bn, was receiving a basic salary of £75,000 (€90,000) a year before his conglomerate, the Quinn Group, was taken over by Anglo.

He claims that some 80pc of his tax is paid to the UK government and he holds a British national insurance number.

But it emerged yesterday that Mr Quinn, who lives in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, is resident for tax purposes in the Republic of Ireland, according to a certificate supplied by the UK's Revenue & Customs.

Inquiry

The married father of five is also under investigation by the UK tax authorities, which recently began an inquiry into the tax implications of "historic" benefits in kind identified in his British tax returns.

The revelations came during a court hearing in Belfast to decide if Mr Quinn should be allowed to go bankrupt in the UK, which would allow him back into business within a year, compared with up to 12 years in the Republic of Ireland.

Anglo, now known as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), is seeking to have Mr Quinn's bankruptcy status in Northern Ireland annulled.

It argues that his centre of main interests is his home in Co Cavan.

Mr Quinn has claimed that he is entitled to be adjudicated a bankrupt in Belfast because his base is in Derrylin, Fermanagh, where the Quinn Group was headquartered before the IBRC placed it into receivership on April 11 last.

Mr Justice Donal Deeny will give his ruling early next year.

Mr Quinn, who last night admitted he made "big mistakes" by believing in the "hype" surrounding Anglo Irish Bank, has also revealed that he has bought a burial plot in Teemore parish in Derrylin, Fermanagh.

He revealed in court documents that he had bought a burial plot in the graveyard adjacent to St Mary's Church in Teemore, where he is a lifelong member of the local GAA club.

"I have made a will in which I have expressed the wish that I be buried in this plot upon my death," said Mr Quinn, who accused the IBRC of running a hate campaign against him.

Mr Quinn revealed in a lengthy court statement his "shock" and "pain" after the IBRC appointed a share receiver over the Quinn Group.

He said the takeover was "conducted with almost military precision" and claimed that the mobile phones of the share receiver's team were confiscated to prevent word leaking out.

But the bank, which obtained court orders of more than €2bn against Mr Quinn last month, defended what it admitted was as a "meticulous" plan to take control over the Quinn Group.

Richard Woodhouse, a senior executive with the state-owned bank, told Judge Deeny that it had to move on the Quinn Group to protect its assets because the IBRC was owed "an obscene amount of money".

Mr Woodhouse denied that the bank had placed Mr Quinn or his family under surveillance.

Mr Quinn has produced a lease dated May 2011 for a Derrylin office.

But Gabriel Moss, for the IBRC, said that Mr Quinn failed to disclose the lease and suggested the reasons for non-disclosure were "either perjury or forgery".

Irish Independent

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