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Complex Quinn case drawing in many witnesses

Economic crime detectives prepare to follow the money

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Kevin Lunney recovering at home

Kevin Lunney recovering at home

Kevin Lunney recovering at home

At least 20 people including priests, local business owners and executives have been interviewed by gardai in an increasingly labyrinthine investigation into attacks on the Quinn companies.

Two detectives were assigned to investigate the history of attacks and intimidation on the company following the abduction and attack on Kevin Lunney, a director of Quinn Industrial Holdings, in September.

Five months on, their inquiry has proven to be far more complex than anticipated. Informed sources say the list of interviewees is running into the dozens as investigators broaden their remit from the historic attacks on the company to ventures linked to former billionaire Sean Quinn.

Separately, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau has begun an investigation into the financial affairs of those suspected of organising the historic attacks on the former Quinn businesses. The prime suspect for organising the attacks, Cyril McGuinness, died during a garda raid of his hideaway in Derbyshire in the UK weeks after the Lunney attack.

Gardai helped by computer specialists and forensic accountants are understood to be investigating accounts and companies linked to Mr McGuinness. The Criminal Assets Bureau is separately engaged in "preparatory" work ahead of financial action it might take.

Detectives investigating the history of sabotage at the company, meanwhile, have interviewed several witnesses about a trust set up in 2012 to help Sean Quinn pay his legal fees in 2012.

The Erne Group Trust paid more than €1.7m which had been loaned by 35 people to help defray the massive legal costs incurred by the former tycoon and his family.

Detectives have also interviewed at least one investor in an insurance company launched by associates of Sean Quinn's in 2014 and which is now in administration. Other lines of inquiry include the background to the former management team acquiring Quinn Industrial Holdings in 2014, and Sean Quinn's role in and subsequent departure from the businesses.

Witnesses contacted by detectives include local priest Fr Oliver O'Reilly; and former executives of the Quinn businesses including Paul O'Brien, whose car was petrol-bombed outside his home in August 2013. Mr O'Brien took over as chief executive of the Quinn businesses after Sean Quinn and his management team were ousted from the businesses in 2011. Sean Quinn is understood to have made several allegations to gardai against the directors of Quinn Industrial Holdings.

Mr Quinn's former management team, backed by American investors, acquired the manufacturing divisions of the Quinn Group in 2014. Mr Quinn was hired back as a consultant but left after the relationship soured. The attacks on the businesses escalated in 2018.

Sunday Independent