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Once our wealthiest tycoon, Sean Quinn crashed owing €1.2bn - now he'll repay just €20,000 more


Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn at the Quinn Group HQ before Christmas.  Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Sean Quinn at the Quinn Group HQ before Christmas. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Sean Quinn

Sean Quinn


Sean Quinn

HE once owed €1.2bn, but former billionaire Sean Quinn will pay back just €20,000 more as he emerges from bankruptcy.

Formerly Ireland's richest man, Mr Quinn has now accepted a deal with the official bankruptcy supervisor that will see him pay back €10,000 annually for the next two years.

It will be taken from any income earned in his new role as consultant to part of his former empire. The money will most likely go towards the pot for his creditors, mainly IBRC.

It is a fraction of the €1.2bn debt Mr Quinn faced when he was declared bankrupt three years ago this week, with just €300 to his name.

The former billionaire is set to be discharged officially from his debts to the IBRC on Friday.

Mr Quinn was not present yesterday for the hearing in the High Court, nor were any of his family members.

During recent years his family have been accused of moving assets abroad to keep them out of reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The 67-year-old and his son Sean Quinn Jnr both served time in jail in 2012 for contempt of court. But now he is back working as a consultant for the firm that he helped build, after a consortium bought back part of his old Quinn empire.

Mr Quinn returned to the Derrylin headquarters, in County Fermanagh, to cheers before Christmas, to share a crate of beer and whiskey with employees.

A spokesperson for the company last night told the Irish Independent the remuneration package for Mr Quinn as consultant has not been discussed.

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A €100m deal saw Aventas - which took over many of the Quinn businesses along the border after the group was put into receivership - sell assets including manufacturing operations in Derrylin and Ballyconnell, County Cavan. These deal with cement, tarmac, roof tiles, blocks and packaging.

John McCartin, a Fine Gael Councillor who is a non-executive director with Quinn Industrial Holdings, said that the consortium had only been in business properly for five working days because of the Christmas holidays and so Mr Quinn's remuneration package had not even been decided. "We have not discussed it at all," he said. "We only started to run the business, so it's been five working days of finding our feet.

"The definition of Sean's role and remuneration package is not one that's been decided in any shape or form," he added.

Mr McCartin revealed that Mr Quinn has been "in and out" of the factories, looking around and assessing the state of the business, saying: "He's not happy at all with the way it's looking."


He claimed that there is "millions" of plant machines "missing" - which had been sold off by previous owners Aventas.

Mr McCartin stressed that this had been lawfully done because they were the owners at the time, however he said the new owners will now have to undertake a project of rebuilding the business.

"There'll be a bit of work needed to put it back in the way that it was four or five years ago," he said.

Meanwhile, he said the mood of the local area was "buoyant" because people were happy that Mr Quinn was back.

"People are happy that he is able to contribute again," he added, saying that around 2,500 to 3,000 local jobs were dependent on jobs provided by Quinn Industrial Holdings.

"This is the only part of Western Europe where the population is less than 20 people per square kilometre, so you can imagine how important those jobs are," he said.

Earlier, Bernard Dunleavy, counsel for Chris Lehane, the official assignee of bankruptcy, made the case before Ms Justice Caroline Costello, after Mr Quinn's new consultancy role emerged in press reports over the Christmas period.

Counsel said Mr Quinn had co-operated with the official and is entitled to a discharge from his bankruptcy.

Mr Lehane was seeking an order under Section 85D of the Bankruptcy Act, which counsel said would "overreach" the discharge, directing Mr Quinn to pay a sum from any future earnings until January 2017 to his creditors.

Mr Dunleavy told the court Mr Quinn had made an offer to pay €10,000 per year for two years.

After the judge agreed to approve the application, Mr Lehane was found to be entitled to the claim on a total of €20,000 from Mr Quinn's earnings until January 2017. Mr Quinn was once the richest man in Ireland but ran up debts of €2bn after gambling on Anglo Irish Bank's share price.

He was subsequently jailed for "serious contempt" when a court found he had sanctioned asset-stripping of the Quinn group before his departure.

Sean Quinn's wife, Patricia, and five children are engaged in a gigantic battle with the now liquidated IBRC over a disputed €2.3bn in debts. Their case alleging the unlawful issuing of loans opens in the High Court in April.

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