Belfast Telegraph

Fallen tycoon Sean Quinn profits as online bookie

By Cate McCurry

Former billionaire Sean Quinn has vowed to fight back with his family's new online betting business.

Once Ireland's richest man, the Co Fermanagh native said he never considered "throwing in the towel" after he was made bankrupt and then imprisoned for contempt of court.

In an interview with the Sunday Business Post, he revealed that QuinnBet has made a profit in its first six months and that he has ambitions of returning to the manufacturing and hospitality industry that made him rich.

QuinnBet, which he founded and chairs, is a family-run business with his son Sean Quinn Jnr as chief executive, and sons-in-law Stephen Kelly and Niall McPartland as chief financial officer and chief compliance officer respectively.

His youngest daughter Brenda is operations manager.

In one of his first interviews in a number of years, Mr Quinn unveiled plans for his business empire and how the former Anglo Irish Bank raised questions about the funding of QuinnBet.

"IBRC (Irish Bank Resolution Corporation) has raised certain queries, and we have addressed those queries and, obviously, will address any further queries if the court requires this," he said.

Mr Quinn, who lost billions over an ill-fated investment in the Anglo Irish Bank, suggested his new business venture is the start of something bigger.

The Derrylin man, who has attracted 10,000 customers to his online betting enterprise, added: "I never considered throwing in the towel. This is one part of my family's fightback.

"The indicators are that QuinnBet can be a tremendous success, albeit it is a different business than I would have ordinarily been associated properly with.

"However, I recognise that, properly managed, it can be a huge opportunity.

"While we have done very little traditional advertising, trading has been very strong, not just here in Ireland but in Britain, which is hugely encouraging."

When asked if he could see himself founding or acquiring other businesses, he said: "Insofar as the more traditional businesses that I am associated with, such as manufacturing and hospitality, I remain very much interested in those businesses and still have strong ambitions."

He also addressed public criticism for founding a betting business after losing a vast amount of his wealth.

He said: "I would much prefer to be continuing owning and managing the Quinn Group businesses I founded which, in the three years leading up to the crash, were producing profits of €500 million per annum.

"I was always innovative in starting new businesses and always looked for high returns, and there certainly was an element of risk to some of those ventures.

"I never considered investing in a blue-chip state-regulated bank as risky comparable to many of those previous investments."

The father-of-five said that family members played a major part in the business.

"The family would like to be more involved and intend to be, going forward," he added.

"I have always been in a position to put a good team together, and I'm confident this business will be no different.

"I hope I will be recognised for the huge creation of jobs and industry in one of the most deprived areas at the time in the country, as opposed to my unfortunate investment in Anglo, which was supposed to be a blue-chip bank company regulated by the state."

Belfast Telegraph

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