Quinn close to tears as he tells of Anglo's 'underhand' takeover
BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn choked back tears in the witness box yesterday as he told of Anglo Irish Bank's "very underhand" takeover last year of his companies.
He told the High Court he had built up his companies with "honesty and integrity" and that Quinn employees were "treated like dogs".
Mr Quinn said he had called in "the war cabinet" when the takeover happened and instructed his nephew Peter Quinn to act on legal advice concerning assets in the Quinn international property group (IPG).
When signing documents just days later in early April 2011 which moved multi-million euro assets beyond the reach of Anglo, he was "very angry and very upset" and of the view that "the main thing" was to get them "out of Anglo's control", he said.
Mr Quinn denied any of his actions amounted to a breach of High Court orders made in June and July 2011 restraining dissipation of about €500m worth of assets in IPG.
The claims by Anglo (now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) of contempt of those orders were "totally untrue", he said.
Yesterday, Mr Quinn told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that, at the same time he was travelling to Dublin to meet with the chairman of Anglo on April 14, 2011, the bank was sending 70 to 80 people to the Quinn companies in Derrylin. At Derrylin, senior workers were removed from their offices and "treated like dogs".
It was only in late March 2011 that Mr Quinn finally realised the bank was not prepared to reach some consensual agreement with the Quinn side, he said. While his nephew Peter, whom he called "Petey", had held the view for some time that the bank would not work with the Quinn family and had discussed those concerns with him from about mid-2010, Mr Quinn said he himself was "a bit more naive".
His nephew believed, from the time the family lost control of Quinn Direct in March 2010, that Anglo was going to take control of the whole business, he said.
Peter had the view that the €2.34bn loans made by Anglo to the Quinn companies would "always be an issue" and would not be left to one side and the bank would seek to take control of the Quinn businesses.
Mr Quinn said he himself had not initially shared that view. He had believed it would "all come good" with the bank.
His concerns about what the bank might do developed in the months up to late March 2011 as meetings with the bank became "less frequent and less positive".
He was also concerned when the bank indicated properties of Quinn companies might be sold.
When those sales were referred to and Anglo chief Mike Aynsley went on radio last year saying the Quinn companies would not remain under Quinn ownership, he experienced "a huge reawakening", he said.
There were about three or four Quinn company directors "in house" at the group's offices in Derrylin and, on the morning of Mr Aynsley's "outburst", he had called in the "war cabinet". They had "a chat among ourselves" and he made contact with his nephew.
He said he told his nephew to put into effect the legal advice he had received and do "whatever should be done" as soon as possible. "I was very angry and very upset and the main thing was to get it out of Anglo's control," he said.
He was giving evidence yesterday in the continuing hearing of the bank's application for attachment and committal of himself, his son Sean Junior and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn over alleged contempt of the 2011 orders.
All three deny contempt. He will continue his evidence today.