herald

Wednesday 22 November 2017

He lost billions, but Quinn says: I won't go hungry

TYCOON: I'm not worried, I won't lose home

BANKRUPT former billionaire Sean Quinn believes he will be able to stay in his home as it belongs to his children.

The ex-businessman has declared: "I'm not worried. I won't go hungry."

Ireland's one-time richest man also says he will still be able to help his family set up new ventures despite being banned by the court from acting as a company director of up to 12 years.

He plans to stay in his sizeable family home in Co Cavan, which he says is owned by his five children.

The 63-year-old says he accepts sole responsibility for the disastrous gamble on Anglo Irish Bank that resulted in losses of €3bn.

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

Mr Quinn was declared bankrupt at the High Court this week but is not planning retirement.

He has ruled out working for anybody else because of his age and because of "the way I am" but he is ready to encourage people working with family to get something set up. "I can still do that".

He is already working with his family on early stage business ideas but said, "I don't want to talk about that".

The Quinn children became co-owners of the Quinn Group in 2002 when it was worth about €5bn. Their shares in the group have since been seized by Anglo and they each face debts of more than €70m for personal guarantees.

Sean Quinn "expects" the children to be freed of those personal guarantees in an upcoming court case which would allow them to start new businesses and keep assets including the family home.

An early settlement offered by the bank would have freed the five from their personal guarantees but was rejected.

Mr Quinn explains that he did not want to set his children free from personal debts of tens of millions which could force them into brankruptcy.

"It's one thing to be bankrupt at 65 when you've lived your life and raised your family, it's quite another to be bankrupt in your 20s and 30s with young families to rear."

The bankrupt tycoon himself is facing a future on a stipend to cover "reasonable living expenses" and he will have to give up everything of value he owns.

"I don't own anything anyway. I gave it all to the children" he says.

His five children own the Ballyconnell home and since he expects them to win their legal battle to retain the property he insists: "I'm not worried. I won't go hungry".

csheehy@herald.ie

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