Monday 11 December 2017

Quinns approached former UK minister over QIL chairman role


Laura Noonan

The Quinn family anticipated that former UK government minister Des Browne might become chairman of a revamped Quinn Insurance and included his "appointment" in a draft press release announcing an Anglo Irish Bank/Quinn bid to take over the insurer.

Details of the efforts to reach a joint Quinn/Anglo deal to rescue Quinn Insurance Limited (QIL) come as legal battles between the nationalised bank and Ireland's once-richest family intensify in both Dublin and Cyprus.

Meanwhile, QIL, which was the subject of months of negotiations by Anglo and the Quinns, is set to be taken over by the bank and US insurer Liberty Mutual over the coming months.

Sources close to the Quinn family say Anglo engaged extensively with the family around a joint proposal for QIL that would allow the Quinn family to repay the €2.8bn debt they owed to the bank.

The Quinns are understood to have approached Mr Browne and asked him to act as chairman of a revamped QIL, which would include no Quinn board members and no Quinn family shareholders.

Mr Browne could not be reached for comment yesterday.


However, it is understood that his potential appointment was discussed with Anglo and that his name was included in a draft press release drawn up around the time of the September 16, 2010, deadline for QIL bids.

The press release is understood to have included an endorsement of the Anglo bid by Sean Quinn, the family patriarch who founded the insurer and the Quinn Group conglomerate.

The press release was devised by the Quinns and sent to Anglo.

Anglo is understood to have viewed a bid with the Quinns as "conceptual", and was increasingly doubtful about whether a proposal could be executed after an actuarial report suggested increasing losses at the insurer.

Sources say the bank believed it would have had to inject as much as €600m to complete the deal, money that would ultimately have had to be funded by the Irish taxpayer.

The joint proposal never went to the bank's credit committee, board, or the finance minister, sources say.

Anglo ultimately submitted its first bid on September 16 last year without the Quinns, but left the door open to find a partner and bring them in at a later stage, as happened with Liberty Mutual.

Anglo told the Quinns of its firm decision to go with Liberty Mutual on December 9.

That bid ultimately proved successful on April 14 -- the same day Anglo executed its security over shares in the wider Quinn Group and seized control of the businesses.

Irish Independent

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