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Sacked Quinn boss denies taking wine 'bribe'

A FORMER Quinn Insurance manager is trying to get his job back following his sacking after allegedly accepting a bribe of a bottle of wine.

Wesley Bell (30), from Ennel Drive, Artane, Dublin, who worked as a regional claims controller, admitted taking the bottle of wine in 2008 from a claims processor working for him but denied it was a bribe at an Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday.

Mr Bell headed up a team of nine self-employed processors whose salaries were based on the volume of claims they processed -- the more work they did the more they got paid.

He worked at the Blanchardstown branch of Quinn Insurance between August 2007 and December 2009, and was paid a salary of €826.56 a week before being dismissed.

Chris Horrigan, Mr Bell's solicitor, argued yesterday that the sacking was "grossly disproportionate" and that receiving the bottle of wine did not constitute a bribe because the claimant "did not gain and did not benefit, and the company did not suffer" as a result of the acceptance.

However counsel for Quinn Insurance, Mary Paula Guinness, said there was "email evidence" that Mr Bell had shown claims processors in his team how to "circumvent" ethical guidelines outlawing gifts.

Mr Bell received the wine in the run-up to Christmas 2008 -- and his acceptance of it and the email were brought to his attention a year later. He was sacked on December 14, 2009.

The hearing will continue on July 28.

Irish Independent