Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Ex-billionaire Quinn behind bars

Ex-billionaire Sean Quinn is spending his first night behind bars after a multimillion-euro asset-stripping plot finally caught up with him.

The bankrupt businessman was jailed for nine weeks for an outrageous contempt of court and failing to untangle a scheme that put the family's 500 million euro international property empire beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Moments before he was led away, the former cement, insurance and property tycoon hit out at the debt-laden Irish state-owned lender and called for investigations into why a receiver was ever appointed to his beloved Quinn Group, which he built from scratch from a £100 loan.

"They took all my money, they took my companies, they took my reputation and they put me in jail, but yet they've proven nothing," he said.

"They haven't proven this money is owed. They haven't proven the right to put in the receiver. The whole thing is a charade."

The 66-year-old, who had been flanked by supporters and well-wishers in the High Court in Dublin, cut a lonely figure as he climbed into the back of a garda van that took him to Mountjoy Prison, where he will spend his first night before a transfer to the low-security training unit that his son, Sean Quinn junior, was released from two weeks ago.

He cried as he held a crumpled tissue in his hand, looking straight ahead with his bloodshot eyes before waiving his right to a stay out of prison until his appeal is heard in the Supreme Court.

"I'm a very positive person, I like to see things done in time, so if it's going to happen in a week, a month or six months, it's as well getting it dealt with," he said.

Jailing the former tycoon, Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne acknowledged the proceedings had negatively consumed Quinn's life. "In my view, he has only himself to blame," she added.

Quinn, who is due to be freed on January 4, will apply to the Prison Service for temporary compassionate leave to attend his granddaughter's christening on December 22 and for Christmas. But the father and son both face jail again in the future if neither purge their contempt and recover assets.

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