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Quinn hits back at 'life sentence'

BUSINESS mogul Sean Quinn has said his "mistake" of relying too heavily on the Irish banking system led to the loss of his multi-billion euro empire.

The debt-hit tycoon claims he has been hit with a "life sentence" after being stripped of his mighty business empire.

Taxpayer-owned Anglo seized control of Mr Quinn's manufacturing, leisure and property empire last week. Mr Quinn's comments came ahead of an expected meeting with Anglo Irish Bank later today as both sides try to hammer out a strategy to deal with Mr Quinn's €2.88bn debt.

In the statement issued last night, Mr Quinn said the Quinn Group's businesses were "among the best and most progressive in the world".

"Our mistake was to place an over-reliance on the Irish banking system and the many predictions for continued sustained growth in the Irish economy, from some of the country's leading financial services experts," he said. "Ireland needs enterprise and entrepreneurs more than ever at this time but mistakes in business should not result in a life sentence."

Ireland's richest man at the height of the boom also claimed the Quinn Group would create more jobs if he and his family had been left in charge -- and he would have paid back billions.