Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Sean Quinn: I was foolish and reckless, but it's not me who owes €2.8bn

Sean Quinn

Bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn last night claimed he and his family were not liable for a €2.8bn debt from buying Anglo Irish Bank shares, yet he admitted he was "reckless" in doing the deal.

Mr Quinn's contradictory stances came as former Armagh manager Joe Kernan last night defended his decision to speak at a weekend rally supporting Mr Quinn -- and said he would do the same again. Mr Quinn said he had not reneged on his promise to pay the Irish taxpayer the money owed.

"On hindsight now, was I reckless, was I wrong, was I foolish? Yes, I accept that," he said on TV3's 'Tonight with Vincent Browne'. Mr Quinn said he and his family made it clear they would pay their debts because "we didn't want to feel that it could be said that we owed the taxpayer any money".

Yet he also claimed he didn't actually owe the money, it was owed by the Quinn Group, which is now owned by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the remnants of Anglo Irish Bank owned by the State.

"It's not me or the family owes the €2.8bn. The €2.8bn was borrowed by Quinn Group companies, they (IBRC) own them, they should be capable of paying them all back.

"If they're not, how can they blame me? I promised to pay them back, if they let me manage, to keep the companies.

"It is not my fault if they go and take the company off me and then they are not able to pay them back," he said in the interview.

Following speculation he was going to try to become a TD, Mr Quinn also ruled out entering politics.

Mr Kernan said he spoke out because he felt it was unfair that the Quinns were being punished by the courts before the issue of €2.3bn of contested loans had been dealt with. He described this as "putting the cart before the horse".

His comments came amid controversy over the prominent figures who have supported Mr Quinn.

A judge has slammed Mr Quinn for carrying out a scheme that "reeked of dishonesty and sharp practice", aimed at keeping millions away from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The GAA has come under fire since several of its most prominent figures, including Mr Kernan, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and Meath legend Colm O'Rourke, spoke at Sunday night's pro-Quinn rally in Co Cavan.

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