Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Quinn fears returning to prison

Former billionaire Sean Quinn fears returning to prison

Bankrupt former tycoon Sean Quinn, who has been released from prison, has expressed fears of being sent back to jail.

The one-time billionaire walked free from the training unit in Mountjoy prison shortly after 9am on Thursday to return to his family home in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, after serving a nine-week sentence for contempt of court.

In November, the 66-year-old was jailed for not purging his contempt in the High Court for his role in an asset-stripping plot. Quinn is currently embroiled in a bitter legal wrangle with the former Anglo Irish Bank - now rebranded and nationalised as the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

The bank is pursuing the family for debts wracked up through a 2.8 billion euro failed share deal.

Last year, High Court judge Elizabeth Dunne ruled Quinn, his son Sean junior and his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn had attempted to put a multimillion-euro asset portfolio beyond the reach of the IBRC.

After his release, Quinn said a return to jail was possible if the "charade" being pursued against his family in the courts continued. "Can we go back to jail? Yes we can," he said.

Ireland's one time richest man said the hardest thing about prison was the amount of time he was locked in his cell. "I found it tough but when you come to 66 years of age I suppose you have been through many a thing over that period - I could fit into most environments and I fitted in," he told BBC Northern Ireland.

He added: "Of course when you find a door slamming at 9 o'clock at night, and you close for the night, it's not nice and it's not something I'm used to and it's not something I felt I deserved, but that's the world we're working in."

The former billionaire said his experience in Mountjoy made him feel lucky for the family and friends he has at home. "I wouldn't call it frightening but it would certainly make you think," he said.

Quinn added he received a positive reaction from fellow prisoners. "One hundred per cent of them felt I shouldn't be there, I certainly felt I shouldn't be there, after creating 7,000 jobs, after never in my life did I owe anyone a penny, never in my life did I steal a penny that didn't belong to me, I felt it was just wrong."

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