| 12.3°C Dublin

So just how much does Quinn owe?

Last week's sensational developments at Quinn Insurance raise serious questions about Ireland's second largest insurance company and its owner, billionaire Sean Quinn. With Sean Quinn due to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Economic Regulatory Affairs shortly, there are some serious questions to be asked.

1 Was the €288m loan from Quinn Insurance to Sean Quinn the first time he had borrowed money from his insurance company? If he had previously borrowed money from Quinn Insurance, how much did he borrow and when was the money repaid?

2 Sean Quinn used the money he borrowed from Quinn Insurance to buy shares in Anglo Irish Bank, Ireland's third largest bank. How much money has Sean Quinn spent buying Anglo Irish shares? How much are those shares worth now?

3 How much of Anglo Irish Bank does Sean Quinn own? Various figures, from 15pc to as much as 30pc, have been put on Sean Quinn's shareholding in Anglo Irish. We need to know Sean Quinn's full shareholding in Anglo Irish, including shares held through contracts for difference and other financial derivatives.

Bet

4 At a time when bank shares were already under pressure -- Anglo Irish shares have fallen by 92pc over the past 18 months -- what on earth convinced Sean Quinn to wager more than €1bn on his losing bet on Anglo Irish?

5 How much does Sean Quinn owe Anglo Irish Bank? Is Sean Quinn one of Anglo Irish's largest borrowers?

6 Under Irish banking law, the Central Bank must approve any shareholder, whether an individual or company, who purchases 10pc or more of an Irish bank. Did Sean Quinn seek such approval in advance of acquiring his shareholding in Anglo Irish Bank? Was such approval granted and, if so, when?

7 What security, if any, does Anglo Irish hold for the money it has lent to Sean Quinn? Does Anglo Irish have charges over any of Quinn's assets? Have any of these charges been exercised? If so, what securities have been exercised and when? Does the security include some or all of Quinn's Anglo Irish shares?

8 After fining Quinn Insurance €3m and Sean Quinn €200,000, is the Financial Regulator satisfied that Sean Quinn is still a fit and proper person to own Quinn Insurance, Ireland's second largest insurance company?

9 Is the Financial Regulator satisfied that Sean Quinn is still a fit and proper person to be the biggest single shareholder in Anglo Irish, Ireland's third largest bank?

10 If the answer to either of the previous two questions is "no", does the Financial Regulator have the power to compel Sean Quinn to sell Quinn Insurance and/or his shareholding in Anglo Irish Bank? If the Regulator does not possess such powers, will he be asking the government to pass legislation to give him such powers?

11 Is the Financial Regulator satisfied that Quinn Insurance's declared annual profits, €245m in 2007, are an accurate measurement of its underlying profitability and not just a reflection of the strong positive cash flow generated by a rapidly-growing new motor insurance company?

Risk

12 Sean Quinn invested heavily in property at the top of the market. Now that the bubble has burst, property prices are falling rapidly. To make matters worse, much of the property purchased by Sean Quinn was in emerging -- ie, extremely high-risk -- markets such as Russia, India and Ukraine. Did any Quinn Insurance funds go to purchase these properties? If so, how much? If Quinn Insurance is exposed to high-risk emerging markets, what are its investments worth now?

13 What procedures, if any, have been put in place to segregate Sean Quinn's personal investments from those of Quinn Insurance? Not to put too fine a point on it, how can we be sure that Quinn Insurance policyholders' cash isn't part of Sean Quinn's personal piggybank?


Privacy