Belfast Telegraph

Manhunt on for Sean Quinn's nephew

By Tom Brady and Derbhail McDonald

Gardai last night ordered an air and sea port alert for on-the-run business mogul Peter Darragh Quinn amid fears he had fled the Republic after being handed down a three-month jail sentence for contempt of court.

After a warrant for his arrest was issued in the Dublin High Court yesterday, senior gardai began an international manhunt.

Mr Quinn, nephew of bankrupt businessman Sean Quinn, was not in court when the sentence was handed down.

His cousin, Sean Quinn jnr, was also sentenced to three months for contempt and spent last night in Mountjoy Prison.

However, Fermanagh-born Sean Quinn snr escaped imprisonment yesterday.

The trio fell foul of the court for attempting to keep details of a €500m (£400m) property empire from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

This is the first time anyone has been jailed arising from investigations into Anglo’s collapse.

Peter Darragh Quinn is the son of former GAA president Peter Quinn. He had been signing affidavits in his lawyers' offices until 3am, but failed to appear in the High Court later.

Last night gardai visited his home and other properties where he might be staying in Dublin and elsewhere but could not find any trace of him.

Garda districts where Mr Quinn was either known to have a base or stayed with friends were prioritised as details of his disappearance were circulated.

A description was sent to gardai on duty at the ports and his name was added to a list routinely distributed to other police forces through Interpol and Europol. Gardai were also in close contact with the PSNI.

A senior Garda said: “This man is obviously not a dangerous criminal at large. But our job is to follow the orders given by the judge and make every effort to track him down and bring him before the High Court.”

Officers were investigating reports that Mr Quinn had fled across the border.

Initially, it was thought that he might have taken ill because of the stress and had been admitted to hospital. But last night officers were satisfied that he intended to leave the jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, a decision on where Sean Quinn jnr will spend the rest of his sentence will be made by prison authorities today. He will probably be sent to the Midlands jail in Portlaoise but Wheatfield in Dublin is another option.

Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne found that the two men had failed to adequately comply with court orders aimed at reversing measures stripping multimillion-euro assets from the Quinn family's international property group.

She said it was an “outrageous” contempt of court orders by the two cousins and Sean Quinn snr.

The judge refused a bid by lawyers of the two cousins to put the sentence on hold, pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Quinn snr was allowed to stay out of jail to take measures to comply with court orders and provide details of the family's assets.

He clutched his white linen handkerchief in his hands and bowed his head as the judge ordered the young men jailed.

He declined to comment on the decision as he left the Four Courts complex and told inquiring reporters to “have a good weekend”.

Belfast Telegraph