Business Irish

Saturday 17 March 2018

Quinn court battle with regulator adjourned

A High Court judge today adjourned attempts by the financial watchdog to put beleaguered Quinn Insurance, owned by tycoon Sean Quinn, into permanent administration.

Lawyers for the Financial Regulator told a Dublin court they had received fresh information from Quinn Insurance in the last hour and asked for a one-week delay.

John Hennessy, senior counsel for the regulator, said officials had received a lengthy affidavit from the company this morning.

"While it does not appear to go in substance into several of the very serious concerns of the regulator in this matter, it nevertheless merits careful consideration by the regulator and a response," the lawyer said.

Mr Quinn, once Ireland's richest man, is fighting to keep control of the lucrative business after the regulator raised concerns over its ability to pay a potential influx of claims.

Quinn has admitted the insurance wing needs a cash injection of up to €150m.

Anglo-Irish Bank, which is owed €2.8bn by the Quinn family after a complex share deal failed, has tried to step in over the last few days with an offer of refinancing.

The regulator held talks with bank officials at the weekend while contacts between Anglo and Quinn management were also ongoing.

It is understood the potential rescue package tabled involves a €700m investment by the state-owned bank in Quinn.

Two of the insurance giant's flagship divisions, Quinn Healthcare and Quinn Direct, are in provisional administration after the regulator, Matthew Elderfield, raised concerns over solvency levels.

The proposals from nationalised Anglo - which will ultimately be refinanced by the taxpayer to the tune of €22bn - reflect the bank's desire to secure the family debt.

Two other key matters are the regulator's desire to protect the insurer's one million customers and the need to run the business as a going concern.

Press Association

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