Sunday 8 December 2019

Quinn: I'll say sorry to public if the courts find against me

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn has promised to apologise to the Irish public if the courts find that the State and Anglo Irish Bank were legally entitled to seize control of his companies.

The 66-year-old has insisted that his reputation will be restored when a legal battle with Anglo, now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), concludes.

Mr Quinn was released from prison on Thursday after being jailed for contempt of court orders, which had been put in place to stop assets in the Quinn group from being put beyond the reach of the bank.

His family is involved in a bitter dispute with the IBRC over debts allegedly owed to the bank while also challenging the legality of the bank taking control of the Quinn Group.

The case is due before the courts again on January 14.

Compensate

"If the assets under dispute are found to belong to the Irish public and that they were taken legally by Anglo Irish Bank, and the receivership of the Quinn Group and administration of the Quinn Direct was done legally and correctly, then we will apologise to the Irish public," he told the Joe Finnegan show on Northern Sound Radio.

"But if it's not, if it's the other way around, who's going to compensate me?"

Speaking of his time in prison, he said he decided to serve his sentence without an appeal because it was his "style". He received "thousands" of letters of support, he claimed.

"I couldn't see any point (in delaying going to prison) as Anglo were determined to put me in prison. I had made my mind up not to appeal the case. I had a couple of pints of beer and a whiskey and it relaxed me, I didn't feel bad at all. It (prison) wasn't too bad. There were hardened criminals and some very hard-luck cases. . . honest, honourable people who made mistakes. I tried to make as many friends as I could, and talk to as many people as I could.

"I'd say the Prison Service were probably happy to let me out. Prisoners cannot open their own mail; the prison management have to open the letters to make sure there's nothing in them contrary to prison rules. We're talking about thousands (of letters).

"Not one was critical. It wouldn't be true that the majority of the mail came from Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Fermanagh. The vast majority came from the other counties."

He admitted that trying to move assets beyond the reach of Anglo was a "mistake", but added: "There is absolutely nothing I can do to purge my contempt any further."

Jobs

Meanwhile, a farmer who erected a sign welcoming Mr Quinn home to Cavan on his release from prison said he did so because the businessman created thousands of jobs in the county.

John O'Reilly, from Virginia in Cavan, said: "The word was out that Sean Quinn was coming down, and Virginia being the first stop, I thought I'd welcome him back.

"You wouldn't want him coming home without somebody recognising the fact he had done the State some service."

Irish Independent

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