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Patricia Quinn: 'I had no role in business, I looked after the children'

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Patricia Quinn

Patricia Quinn

Collins

Sean Quinn Jnr and his sister Colette Quinn arriving at the Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Picture: Collins

Sean Quinn Jnr and his sister Colette Quinn arriving at the Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin. Picture: Collins

Collins

Ciara Quinn and Brenda Quinn - daughters of Sean Quinn - at court

Ciara Quinn and Brenda Quinn - daughters of Sean Quinn - at court

Collins Courts.

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Patricia Quinn

'I was at home looking after the children," said Patricia Quinn, donning her glasses to peer at the letters offering her a cool €100m loan.

The wife of businessman Sean Quinn was the last of the Cavan clan to take the witness box as the criminal trial of former Anglo executives began to delve deeper and deeper into the mounds of loan paperwork.

Slumping towards the microphone, perhaps a tad anxious with all the attentions of Court 19 fixed upon her, Mrs Quinn told how she knew nothing about Contracts for Difference (CFDs), nor shares, nor a loan letter for €100m with her name inked on it.

"I wasn't involved in anything," said the quietly-spoken matriarch of the Quinn family, explaining that her life had revolved around her children rather than business dealings. That she had left to her husband.

Before taking the stand, she'd sat surrounded by her family – her daughters Ciara, Brenda and Colette, and her son Sean Quinn Jnr by her side.

Had she taken an active role in the Quinn Group, or in increasing the wealth of her offspring, came the query from the counsel for the prosecution, Una Ni Raifeartaigh.

"None whatsoever," came the swift response, as the court saw reams of documents detailing the ins and outs of the Quinn Group's loans which saw it pour billions of euro into Anglo Irish Bank shares through the now familiar CFDs.

Letters from the summer of 2008 seeking a loan facility of precisely €100,906,540, and a reply granting her the request, were proffered up for her perusal.

"It is my signature but I don't remember signing it," she told the courtroom.

Few of the Quinn siblings were cross-examined at length as the trial – expected to be bogged down in hours of wrangling over documents – sped along apace.

Sums of millions of euro that would keep some countries afloat – including a small rain-battered one in the North Atlantic – came tripping easily off lawyers' tongues as they dipped deeper into Anglo's dealings.

Yet even the seven-figure sums being bandied about and the moments of mirth as one of the so-called 'Maple 10' quipped it was "hard to tell" if he had indeed once been a €1bn man, failed to keep the attention of the daily visitors as some trickled out of the courtroom.

Similarly, Colette Quinn told how she knew nothing of the documents relating to the €15m loan granted to her as part of the Anglo share-buying deal, and had never met anyone from Anglo.

"I would have signed whatever documents were given to me to sign," she uttered.

Similarly, a heavily pregnant Ciara Quinn told how her 20pc stake in the empire meant she too signed reams of documents and, along with her sister Brenda, told how they only learnt about the €15m loan two years later in 2010.

The first person of the day to take the witness box was Sean Quinn Jnr, who told how the loan documents were sent "unbeknownst to him", as he admitted scant knowledge of the deal.

Glancing at the signatures, he recognised his own squiggle, yet confessed to often reading only the 'signature page' rather than the key details.

He was a busy man, he said, confessing that his role as operations director of Quinn Insurance left him with up to a 1,000 employees to look after and reams of paperwork.

He had put pen to paper to sign possibly thousands, but "certainly hundreds" of documents since becoming a shareholder in 2002.

Mr Quinn Jnr told how the siblings were locked in litigation with the remnants of the now defunct Anglo.

"We would be at one with the State. We feel the money lent was illegal," he explained.

The family believes it was "obtained in a fraudulent and illegal manner and should not be enforced".

And at that his brief appearance was over.

Irish Independent