Today, the former richest man in Ireland announced he was filing for bankruptcy in Belfast. It’s reported that Sean Quinn owed Anglo Irish Bank $3.85 billion and could no longer afford to pay them. Back in the 70s, Quinn started out selling sand and gravel from his father’s farm, which eventually was built into the Quinn Group. The Quinn group quickly grew into a multibillion-dollar mining, manufacturing, real estate and insurance conglomerate. The entrepreneur grew to prominence and was admired by many in Ireland.
Everything started to go south for the billionaire back in 2008 when the global economy began to fall apart. At the peak of the real estate market, Mr. Quinn made risky investments with Anglo Irish Bank. In 2008, when the real estate market globally fell apart, the investments in the bank also dropped drastically and became worthless. After this happened the bank was taken over by the government and became nationalized in 2009.
Still owing them money, Quinn was forced to surrender the Quinn group for payment of $1.85 billion in April 2011. Today’s announcement of personal bankruptcy of Sean Quinn was a sad day for many but was understood as being the only option available.
As the bankruptcy filing continues, the Quinn family will continue with lawsuits pending against Anglo bank for breach of duty and two intentional and/or negligent infliction that economic damage. With the Irish government now owning the bank, Quinn blames the bankruptcy filing partially on the bank purposely undermining the Quinn group and then deflecting the blame for the company downturn.
Quinn’s bankruptcy attorney, John Gordon, has defended his client saying that Sean Quinn has paid his taxes to the UK government for the last 38 years. In other words, the bankruptcy attorney believes the case should be tried in the UK courts.