Belfast Telegraph

Quinn group grounded after chopper sale

By Tom Lyons

The Quinn Group has been permanently grounded by selling off a helicopter formerly used by Sean Quinn, once Ireland's richest man, for more than €1m (£0.8m).

The group's eight-seater Agusta AW109E has been sold to British helicopter operator and trainer Castle Air.

The chopper was bought as new by the Quinn Group and had 2,145 hours of flying time when it was put on the market last year.

Mr Quinn used the helicopter to travel between his different business interests but he also lent it out occasionally. Bertie Ahern, the then-taoiseach, availed of it in 2002 when he was campaigning in Donegal.

Quinn's private jet, a 2005 Dassault Falcon 200EX, is also on the market for $17.5m (£11m) via a Florida dealership.

The jet has a bathroom with gold fixtures and is capable of carrying 10 people.

The Quinn Group used the plane about once a week over the six years they owned it.

Meanwhile, the Quinn family last week began their fight to hold on to their remaining wealth with a legal action against IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

The family hopes to prove that the bank loaned their father hundreds of millions as part of what they claim was an illegal support scheme for the bank's shares.

The family claimed last week in court Anglo "shovelled" €2.34bn (£1.9bn) in loans toward Sean Quinn after discovering his "towering" stake in the bank, which threatened to collapse it.

The scale of the loans, Mr Quinn's lawyers argued, showed an "egregious, and we would say, almost deliberate breach", of company law and market rules.

IBRC is strongly disputing the family's claims and insisting they give up control of an international property portfolio worth up to €500m (£414m).

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