Quinn says he is unaware of his nephew's whereabouts

Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 01:00

Bankrupt businessman Seán Quinn has insisted his family has not fallen out with his nephew Peter Darragh Quinn and claims he does not know where he is.

In a radio interview broadcast today, Mr Quinn said his nephew was in an “extremely difficult situation” and understood why his nephew had not handed himself over to authorities.

Mr Quinn, his son Seán Quinn Jnr and Peter Darragh Quinn were recently found guilty of contempt of court orders restraining them putting assets in the Quinn group of companies beyond the reach of the former Anglo Irish Bank.

While his son was jailed for three months, an arrest warrant is out for his nephew.

Peter Darragh Quinn was photographed attending a GAA club game in Kinawley, Co Fermanagh, on Friday evening. Authorities in the Republic, however, are powerless to force his return because he has left the jurisdiction.

In an interview with RTÉ’s This Week programme, Mr Quinn did not criticise his nephew for failing to hand himself over to authorities.

“Petie has made his decision, I respect his decision.... I can easily understand it. To be put in a situation he is in is an extremely difficult situation,” Mr Quinn said.

Seán Quinn snr, Patricia Quinn and Karen Woods, wife of Seán Quinn jnr, leaving Mountjoy Prison Training Unit after visiting Seán Quinn jnr. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

He said his nephew had worked “tirelessly” for the Quinn Group and had tried to purge his contempt before the court.

“I would never be critical of him, because he did what he felt was right for our family. I appreciate that and thank him for that,” he said.

Mr Quinn also defended his family’s “very conscious decision” to put assets beyond the bank’s reach over the past year and a half. He said he felt the former Anglo Irish Bank was “moving in illegally” on the family’s assets.

“We thought it was an absolute disgrace, and we still feel it’s an absolute disgrace. It was daylight robbery. So, we had no apologies.

We went straight in front of the court, and told it exactly as it was.

“... if the judge or court thinks that I breached the injunction of last year, I don’t believe I did. We have appealed Judge Dunne’s decision and it’s going to the Supreme Court. However, in the meantime, we are trying to purge our contempt.”

Mr Quinn said did not think there was anything further he could do to purge his contempt. He said he had written to the bank’s solicitors during the week to say he was available to travel anywhere or to sign an documents that are required.

Justice Elizabeth Dunne ruled earlier this month that there had been an “outrageous” contempt of court by the Quinns and she was not happy with their level of co-operation to date to reverse the asset-stripping measures

In today's interview, recorded over the weekend, Mr Quinn admitted that as chairman of the Quinn Group and Quinn Direct Insurance he should not have borrowed money from both companies to buy shares in the former Anglo Irish Bank.

He also accepted that the decision of the Financial Regulator to effectively sack him as Quinn Direct Chairman was the right course of action.

Mr Quinn also said people were mistaken if they thought he or his family had "money under the bed".

He said any profits made from Quinn companies in the past had been re-invested into the business.

Mr Quinn said assets or companies in the names of his children were legitimately theirs and Anglo had never owned or invested in them.