Belfast Telegraph

Bankrupt billionaire to learn fate

Bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn will be told on Friday if he will be jailed for failing to comply with court orders to overturn an asset-stripping plot.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne told the High Court in Dublin she would decide overnight on whether to impose a punitive sentence on the former tycoon, who was convicted of contempt of court in June.

The 66-year-old's lawyers argued Mr Quinn has serious health problems, including heart disease, and are expected to seek a postponement on any custodial sentence.

Eugene Grant QC said jail should be a last resort for Mr Quinn, who they claim has made every effort to assist the former Anglo Irish Bank recoup the assets from the family's international property group (IPG).

In an impassioned plea to the judge, he said his client was a self-made man with a totally clear and unblemished record until his dealings with the bank, which have devastated the Quinn family. "A man who, until these affairs with Anglo, stood tall as a leading light in the Celtic Tiger," said Mr Grant.

Describing his client as forlorn and broken, Mr Grant said Mr Quinn was left bereft of economic and financial dignity after he suffered "a grave injustice" at the hands of Anglo, which he is taking legal action against over an alleged loan for shares deal.

Mr Quinn, who sat at the back of the court with supporters, maintains the loan contracts were tainted with illegality and are void.

Mr Grant argued while his client sanctioned a strategy to transfer 500 million euro of assets beyond the reach of Anglo, he played no role in its implementation and has no power to regain control over the property empire.

But he claimed Mr Quinn was committed to purging his contempt and asked the court to defer any sentence until after his appeal to the Supreme Court.

However, lawyers for Anglo, rebranded as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, told the court they were concerned moves were continuing to put assets beyond their control. Shane Murphy, SC, said Mr Quinn had not reversed the asset-stripping scheme, had not apologised for breaking court orders and had not purged his contempt.

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