Quinn battles tears as he tells court Anglo treated staff like dogs

Tim Healy

BANKRUPT businessman Sean Quinn choked back tears in a witness box as he told of Anglo Irish Bank's "very underhand" takeover of his companies.

He told the High Court he had built up his companies with "honesty and integrity" and that Quinn employees were "treated like dogs".

Mr Quinn said he had called in "the war cabinet" when the takeover happened and instructed his nephew to act on legal advice concerning assets in the Quinn international property group (IPG).

When signing documents in early April 2011 which moved multi-million euro assets beyond the reach of Anglo, he was "very angry and very upset" and of the view "the main thing" was to get them "out of Anglo's control", he said.

Mr Quinn denied any of his actions amounted to a breach of High Court orders made in June and July 2011 restraining dissipation of about €500m worth of assets in the IPG. The claims by Anglo -- now Irish Bank Resolution Corporation -- of contempt of those orders were "totally untrue", he said.


He was giving evidence yesterday in the continuing hearing of the bank's application for attachment and committal of himself, his son Sean Junior and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn over alleged contempt of the 2011 orders. All three deny contempt. He was due to continue his evidence today.

Yesterday, Mr Quinn, clearly upset and choking back tears, told Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne that, at the same time he was travelling to Dublin to meet with the chairman of Anglo on April 14, 2011, the bank was sending 70-80 people to the Quinn companies in Derrylin.

At Derrylin, senior workers were removed from their offices and "treated like dogs". The bank "took the whole lot", including private documents held by his children, he said.

It was only in late March 2011 he finally realised the bank was not prepared to reach agreement with the Quinns, he said.

While his nephew Peter had held the view for some time that the bank would not work with the Quinn family, Mr Quinn said he himself was "a bit more naive".


His nephew believed, from the time the family lost control of Quinn Direct in March 2010, Anglo was going to take control of the whole business, he said.

Peter had the view that the €2.34bn loans made by Anglo to the Quinn companies would "always be an issue".

Mr Quinn said he himself had believed up to 2011, it would "all come good" with the bank.

He stuck to that view for some time and made every effort to get a consensual agreement with the bank.

His concerns about the bank developed in the months up to late March 2011 as meetings with the bank became "less frequent and less positive". He was also concerned when the bank indicated properties of Quinn companies might be sold.

When those sales were referred to and Anglo chief Mike Aynsley went on national radio on March 31, 2011 saying the Quinn companies would not remain under Quinn ownership, he experienced "a huge reawakening", he said.

He said he told his nephew to put into effect the legal advice he had received and do "whatever should be done" as soon as possible. His nephew had later put before him a large number of documents to be signed and he did so in early April 2011.

"I was very angry and very upset and the main thing was to get it out of Anglo's control," he said.