Quinn insists he did not use company to fund high life


BUSINESSMAN TONY Quinn has rejected claims he lived the high life and bled an oil company dry while shareholders suffered.

Mr Quinn said the claims by lawyers for Sheila McCaffrey, a founder of the company, International Natural Energy (INE), were nonsense.

On his third and final day in the witness box, Mr Quinn complained that his side of the story was not coming out and the judge ruled out questions relating to his activity as a hypnotist.

Ms McCaffrey claims she was improperly removed as a director of INE by Mr Quinn and another director, Susan Morrice, and alleges they are using the company for personal gain.

Ms McCaffrey’s barrister, Frank Walwyn, said Mr Quinn was living the high life with a yacht, the use of a private jet and six houses. Meanwhile, INE members, who have not been paid a dividend, were suffering. Mr Quinn said this was not true. “I may have money but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.”

He said he was wealthy long before he became associated with the oil company.

In heated exchanges with the witness, Mr Walwyn alleged that Mr Quinn had received exorbitant amounts from INE, including money spent on “security entourages”: funds that had been improperly denied to shareholders. Mr Quinn said this was nonsense. He had not received exorbitant amounts from INE and in fact he had made the vital difference because the investors were from his Educo organisation.

“You conned them into believing you knew something about business,” Mr Walwyn said of the witness’s relationship with Ms McCaffrey and Ms Morrice. After they came under his influence, he persuaded them to give him control of the board.

Mr Quinn said Ms McCaffrey had agreed to give him shares in the company. He described counsel’s suggestion as insane.

Mr Walwyn said Mr Quinn took advantage of the trust and belief of two women. Ms McCaffrey “saw through” Mr Quinn but Ms Morrice remained a “besotted” devotee of his. Mr Quinn and Ms Morrice then punished Ms McCaffrey for “leaving the fold” and he then “drained the company dry”.

Mr Quinn again described counsel’s summary of his client’s case as absolute nonsense.

Mr Quinn asked the court whether he could make a personal statement. He said he had come in good faith and his side was supposed to be heard, but the information was not coming out at all. He was being accused of theft of shares but he had a video and four witnesses to disprove that. “I feel very wronged by the whole thing,” he said.

Eastern Caribbean Court judge Justice Edward Bannister said he was sorry the witness felt this way but he was under cross-examination. If it became irrelevant, he would intervene to stop it. He did not feel Mr Quinn was being treated unfairly but his barrister could deal with any issues in closing submissions.

The judge ruled out questioning about Mr Quinn’s activities as a hypnotist. He was speaking after Mr Walwyn asked the witness what clinical hypnotherapy was.

Mr Quinn, who says he has a doctorate in clinical hypnotherapy, said this was dealing with people who had a variety of problems and helping them to resolve them.

“Why do I need to know this?” asked Justice Bannister. He said there was not a shred of evidence that Mr Quinn was hypnotising people to get them to do things, but instead he “advises people and they take his advice – as do many lawyers”.