Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Not even Quinn can be above law

There is no doubt that there is tremendous sympathy along the border for Sean Quinn in his free fall from being Ireland's richest man to bankruptcy and facing jail.

After all, he provided jobs for around 7,000 people in an area traditionally starved of employment and those people and their friends regard him as a local hero who has been wronged by the banks and the courts. Many of them would like to see the businesses seized by the courts returned to him.

But that is to ignore the reality of what happened. He took a huge gamble on the ill-fated Anglo Irish Bank and lost, bringing his own business empire crumbling down and also contributing to the melt-down of the Republic's economy.

His sure business touch, which had enabled him to establish companies throughout Europe from quite humble beginnings, deserted him in his Anglo Irish share dealings. It was that which put the jobs of those he previously employed in jeopardy.

And it must also be remembered that the courts have found him guilty, along with a son and nephew, of trying to conceal assets from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, the new entity of the Anglo Irish Bank.

Contracts involving huge sums of money were made out in the names of members of the Quinn family in what the IBRC claims was a complex web of deceit to stop it retrieving money which it believes it is owed.

Mr Quinn and his family must have been touched by the loyalty of those who turned out in Co Cavan yesterday to support him. Among the thousands present were several high profile GAA figures. But they, like him, have to recognise that the law must take its course. If he is guilty of acting in contempt then he must face the consequences, which means that when he goes back to the High Court on Friday, he could well face jail. No-one, not even the once wealthiest man in the country, can be above justice.

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