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Saturday 18 November 2017

Sean Quinn’s problems mount with new probe into deals that could bring criminal charges

Sean Quinn with his wife in conversation with Fr.Brian D'Arcy during the Fermanagh v Cavan Qualifier at Brewster Park
Sean Quinn with his wife and son Sean junior (left) in conversation with Fr Brian D'Arcy during the Fermanagh versus Cavan game at Brewster Park in Enniskillen
Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

SEAN Quinn's problems continue to mount with the state's corporate enforcer now expected to investigate the businessman's activities.

The move comes after the High Court ruled last week that Mr Quinn had run a "blatant, dishonest and deceitful" scheme involving a €500m international property portfolio.

While the bankrupt billionaire, his son Sean Jnr and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn were not jailed, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said they would have only three weeks to prove they are working to untangle a complex web of financial transactions involving the property group.

Connections

And now the Director of Corporate Enforcement is set to probe the deals -- and it has the power to bring criminal charges.

The High Court judgment may also be examined by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation.

Mr Quinn and his son were free to attend a Gaelic football championship game yesterday in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

Mr Quinn had strong business connections to both counties involved -- Cavan and Fermanagh.

Sean Quinn was found guilty of contempt of court last week after the High Court ruled he had blocked Anglo Irish Bank from seizing property worth €500m.

Prosecution lawyers had sought punitive measures against Quinn, including a possible jail sentence.

But Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the court still wants repayment and will consider a punishment once this has happened. She has given the men three weeks to comply.

The ODCE has already gathered mountains of information on the Qunn's activities through the three-year probe into the collapse of Anglo.

Quinn's €4bn empire imploded following a disastrous investment in Anglo, which is now looking for the repayment of debts worth close to €3bn.

The Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is already carrying out an investigation into the the bank's loans to the so-called Maple 10 customers to buy a stake in Anglo.

Mr Quinn has previously said he is a man of very limited means and it is not clear whether he would be in a position to pay any fine. He is already excluded from serving as a company director under Irish law following his bankruptcy earlier this year.

The Director of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby said five weeks ago that the "investigative phase" of his office's investigation into Anglo Irish Bank is "almost complete" and that he expects to be able to sign off on the probe within weeks. Several deadlines have already come and gone in that investigation.

Eight "extensive" investigation files have already been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the ODCE boss said at the launch of its annual report last month.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the garda investigation into Anglo is "substantially complete" and that gardai are working closely with the DPP.

Irish Independent

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