Sean Quinn still finds it hard to let go

Cantillon: Ex-billionaire uses inquiry to voice grievances about collapse of Quinn Group

Former billionaire Sean Quinn: inquiry members intervened to stop him talking as what he was saying was based on hearsay. Photograph: Collins

Former billionaire Sean Quinn: inquiry members intervened to stop him talking as what he was saying was based on hearsay. Photograph: Collins

 

The settlement earlier this year of the case the Quinn family took against the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, where they were to contest the legality of debts to Anglo Irish Bank, meant that the platform the family had long said it was going to use to voice its grievances about the circumstances of the collapse of the Quinn Group, has been taken away.

That the sense of grievance still exists was apparent during the brief appearance on Friday of Sean Quinn at the inquiry established by the Central Bank of Ireland into matters to do with Quinn Insurance.

Near the end of his evidence Quinn recounted how he “stupidly” extracted cash from Quinn Insurance to support his high-risk investment in Anglo shares, and got sanctioned for this in 2008 by the Financial Regulator.

After that debacle, he said, they “wanted to get back up on the horse”. Over the two years to 2010 they improved their solvency position by €510 million, informed Anglo that they would pay off €400 million of their loans, and were making annual profits of “five, six hundred million”.

‘Tremendous confidence’

“That gave me tremendous confidence that we were back in business and that we were going to recover.”

Then it emerged that assets belonging to the insurance business had been used to guarantee loans to the Quinn Group, and an administrator was appointed to the insurance company.

It was “a sudden shot from the bolt”, Quinn said. There was no need for the move, but pressure had been coming from the regulator in London, and the Government had been putting pressure on the Irish regulator to close down Quinn Insurance “saying Quinn is too competitive”, he claimed.

At this point the inquiry members intervened to stop Quinn, because what he was saying was based on hearsay. No one had any more questions for him. “I can go for a pint,” the former billionaire said. And that was that.

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