Tuesday 25 November 2014

Sean Quinn: ‘It never crossed my mind banks would go bust’

Cormac Murphy

Published 05/12/2013 | 11:54

Former billionaire Sean Quinn
Former billionaire Sean Quinn

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn has admitted it "never crossed" his mind the Irish banks would go bust.

Mr Quinn, who was once rated among the world's richest people, said he thinks daily about the billions he has lost.

He took a €3bn punt on Anglo Irish Bank before the lender went broke.

Asked by Pat Kenny on Newstalk today if he thinks about the financial mistakes he has made, the former insurance and cement boss replied: "Every day."

He said he made "all this money" and he "threw away all this money" but added there is an obligation on his family to bring to light if there was a conspiracy against them.

Mr Quinn said he is now "broke".

The Quinn Group of companies doubled its profits every year for 35 years before he got involved in Anglo, now called IBRC.

Mr Quinn (67) said: "It never even dawned on me, not even a fraction of 1pc would it ever cross my mind that we would go bust.

"And it never crossed my mind that the Irish Government would finish out paying out one-fifty for every pound they took in and it never crossed my mind that the Irish banks would go bust.

"It never crossed my mind and I regret that and I feel stupid and also feel stupid that maybe I had a bigger shareholding and I got too involved in Anglo and I accept that."

He pointed out many people invested in Anglo, including Finance Minister Michael Noonan, and it was seen as a very profitable organisation.

Mr Quinn said he never took any notice of his position on the Forbes list of mega-rich individuals.

But he feels "sad" about how he lost control of his empire.

"All of a sudden I stupidly got involved in buying shares in Anglo Irish Bank," he admitted.

When the Anglo share price started coming down, the information coming from all the brokers was that it was continuing to be successful, he said.

"When the price was reducing and profits going up, we thought there were opportunities there but of course we were wrong," Mr Quinn said.

Support from benefactors is helping the family fund its legal actions, he added.

He described as the "lowest of the low" and a scandal IBRC's move to stop him going bankrupt in Northern Ireland, adding the institution knew that his centre of interest had always been north of the border.

Mr Quinn said he is touch with his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn, who has failed to appear in court in Dublin on contempt charges.

He "wouldn't advise Pete one way or another" to return to Dublin to answer the allegations, Mr Quinn told listeners.

Irish Independent

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