Belfast Telegraph

Bankruptcy ruling blow for Quinn

Former tycoon Sean Quinn could be effectively barred from relaunching his business career after a Belfast court ruled that his bankruptcy should be dealt with in Dublin.

The 65-year-old sought bankruptcy in Northern Ireland, where he could have started a fresh career after 12 months, but now faces a wait of up to 12 years in the Irish Republic.

The businessman's multibillion-euro empire collapsed over the last two years on the back of massive stock market gambles on the share price of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

The lender, now rebranded the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), is seeking to recover billions in debt from Mr Quinn, who was once the richest man in Ireland.

In the High Court in Belfast Mr Justice Donal Deeny annulled the bankruptcy secured by Mr Quinn in Northern Ireland in November, after the bank successfully argued his 'Centre of Main Interest' was in the Republic.

Justice Deeny found that a lease produced by Mr Quinn for an office in an industrial estate in his native Derrylin in Co Fermanagh, was likely to have been drawn-up to try and "bolster" his case for UK bankruptcy.

Outside the court, Mr Quinn denied he had ever sought to mislead anyone and said he had always worked in Northern Ireland and had never used his home, just south of the Irish border, as an office.

"I never done a day's work from southern Ireland in my life I never done a day's work in my home. I never had any computers, I never had any IT system. Everything was always done from Derrylin," he said. "There was never any question of me deceiving the court and there was never any need for me to deceive the court."

The court had earlier heard that bankruptcy in the south lasts for up to 12 years, though recent reforms meant that the period can be reduced to five years if preferred creditors are paid. Mr Quinn said the bank had presided over record losses and he claimed he was being made a scapegoat as a result of the fallout.

Since Mr Quinn asked to be declared bankrupt in Belfast in November, he has been hit with two separate judgments of 1.74 billion euro (£1.49 billion) and 416 million euro (£357 million) by the Commercial Court in Dublin over loans from Anglo.

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