Quinn denies any knowledge of 'unlawful acts' after arson attack
OUSTED tycoon Sean Quinn yesterday broke his silence on Monday night's arson attack against the home of the new Quinn Group boss, saying he had "no knowledge whatsoever of any unlawful acts" and had already called on agitators to cease their campaign.
The comments came after Quinn Group chief Paul O'Brien took to the airwaves to call on Mr Quinn to "renounce and condemn" the attacks "before someone is really hurt".
In a lunchtime radio interview, Mr O'Brien also claimed he was "flabbergasted" that Mr Quinn had refused a previous request by the Quinn Group board to condemn the attacks, "which are clearly being carried out in his name".
Hours later, Mr Quinn's spokesman issued the businessman's first public statement on the campaign of intimidation and sabotage that has been waged against Mr O'Brien since he joined the Quinn Group in April following its controversial takeover by Anglo Irish Bank.
The comments made no specific reference to the attack on Mr O'Brien's home, where arsonists doused two cars with flammable liquid, causing a BMW to explode and damaging the home of Mr O'Brien and his neighbour.
Mr Quinn said he wanted to assert, "in categoric terms", that he had "no knowledge whatsoever of any unlawful acts in relation to individuals or property associated with the Quinn Group other than what I have read in the media".
The Fermanagh-born entrepreneur also said that he had already condemned the "reported acts of sabotage" in a meeting with the PSNI's chief inspector Sue Steen "several weeks ago".
"I stated, in clear and unequivocal terms, that persons carrying out such acts were not acting in my name and requested them to cease," Mr Quinn said.
"These comments were widely reported by the BBC at the time and repeated again yesterday."
Mr Quinn's spokesman was unable to confirm whether the Cavan tycoon had ever publicly denounced the campaign against the Quinn takeover and called on the perpetrators to stop.
In his statement, Mr Quinn confirmed that he had refused a May request from the Quinn Group's chairman to condemn the acts of sabotage because there "was a clear inference that I was interfering in the business".
"In my response (to the chairman) I also stated that I found such an inference deeply offensive."
Sources close to Mr O'Brien last night rejected Mr Quinn's allegation that the new chief executive had "intentionally failed to acknowledge" Mr Quinn's reported remarks. They said Mr O'Brien had not been aware of the remarks.
In his radio interview, Mr O'Brien described the attack as "an attempt to strike fear, to make people walk away".
Asked if he was afraid, Mr O'Brien said he was on holiday and had seen the pictures of his stricken house on the news. "I watched it with my three children and my wife, you'd be fairly hard-nosed to say you wouldn't be scared."