Belfast Telegraph

Bankrupt tycoon Sean Quinn defiant despite losses

Fallen billionaire Sean Quinn
Fallen billionaire Sean Quinn

By Laura Noonan

Bankrupt tycoon Sean Quinn says he is "not out" of the business world, insisting: "I'm not worried. I won't go hungry."

And Mr Quinn said he would still be able to help his family set up new ventures - despite being banned from acting as a company director for up to 12 years.

In a wide-ranging interview, a defiant Mr Quinn also said he expected to stay in his sizeable family home in Co Cavan, which is owned by his five children.

Mr Quinn (63) accepted sole responsibility for a disastrous gamble on Anglo Irish Bank that resulted in losses of €3bn (£2.4bn) - admitting that his investment style was "greedy".

"It was me that done it. I'm blaming nobody else, not company directors or family, it was me and me alone," he said.

Ireland's one-time richest man was this week declared bankrupt in a Dublin court, and famously claimed in November that he had just €11,000 (£9,000) in the bank.

In his first detailed interview since his empire collapsed, Mr Quinn spoke about his family, his relationship with Anglo Irish Bank and his hopes for a future comeback.

Mr Quinn also claimed for the first time that former Anglo boss David Drumm told him that he was taking security against Mr Quinn's €2.8bn (£2.3bn) loans for "cosmetic reasons" alone.

He said that he therefore believed personal guarantees and claims over the Quinn Group's shares would never be enforced.

He says now that he would have sold down his stake in Anglo in September 2007 at a loss of €750m (£625m) had the bank's bosses asked him to. It didn't happen because Anglo didn't ask and he didn't offer.

Over the following months, Mr Quinn said it was "made very clear" that any sale by him would have adversely affected the bank.

"It was about the green jersey, we have to work together," he says.

As to his own future, Quinn says he's facing having to survive on a stipend to cover "reasonable living expenses" for the next 12 years at least, and he'll have to give up everything of value he owns.

But he appears more concerned for the future of the Quinn Group, describing the "destruction" of the empire since Anglo installed a share receiver at the businesses.

Mr Quinn also predicted that Anglo "wouldn't get a penny back" from its seizure of the group because so much value was ceded to bondholders and the company's performance has deteriorated.

Belfast Telegraph


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