Ex-tycoon Sean Quinn down to his last few thousand Euro

HE MAY once have been Ireland’s richest man, or certainly the country’s biggest lender.

But former insurance and construction tycoon Sean Quinn says he has just €11,169, drives a €4,670 04-reg Merc and has little or no assets left.

Control of all his businesses have long been handed over to his children and all his worldwide assets have now been placed under the control of the Official Receiver in Northern Ireland.

According to a list of income, expenditure and assets provided at his recent bankruptcy application in Belfast, he has to pay £1,200 each month in utility bills at his palatial Cavan mansion.

Unlike so many other people these days, he is – however – fortunate enough not to have to make any mortgage payments on the sprawling Ballyconnell property.

It was also stated that the house was built and paid for by his children, who own it.

He also says that other monthly bills include £100 for clothes, £80 for travel, and £150 for phone.

Housekeeping – which includes cleaning bills and food – comes to £850-a-month.

Although his house is not mentioned as an asset in the documents lodged at Belfast’s High Court, the recent sale for £100,000 of a site at the address to his children is.

Mr Quinn, who is being pursued for more than €2billion in disputed debts by former Anglo Irish Bank, now IBRC, has just €137 in his Ballyconnell Ulster Bank account.

A Sterling amount of £69.36 is lodged with Bank of Ireland in Lisnakea in County Fermanagh and €10,951 in another account with the bank at its Cavan town branch.

Last Friday, Mr Quinn’s solicitor John Gordon told The Irish Times that the Statement of Affairs filed with the High Court in Belfast listed his assets as being less than £50,000 and stated he had no income.

He also stated that he had a pension which will pay him less than £10,000-a-year when he starts drawing down on it.

Mr Quinn’s lawyers will be in court on Monday in Dublin to respond to IBRC’s application to have his Northern Ireland bankruptcy over-turned.

They had applied for this in The Commercial Court last Monday but the matter was adjourned to give Mr Quinn’s legal team a chance to respond.

During their application, an affidavit by the bank’s lawyers revealed the extent to which officials had tried to establish where exactly Mr Quinn was based.

This was needed, they argued, to contradict his claim to have his main centre of business in Northern Ireland.

As part of his bankruptcy petition, he had said in a statement: ‘I was born, reared and worked all my life in Co Fermanagh.

‘It is for this reason that my bankruptcy application was made in Northern Ireland.’

His successful application caught IBRC by surprise and lawyers immediately began the process of ‘examining the validity of this application for bankruptcy’.

In a statement, they said they were doing this because they believed Mr Quinn’s main residence is in Co Cavan and because he has ‘extensive business interests and liabilities within the State’.

As part of their bid to have last Friday’s High Court declaration over turned on Monday, they attacked his claim to have most of his business interests in the North.

They surveyed more than 147 companies – 52 of which were registered in the UK – and noted that for his companies based in the Republic of Ireland, all 95 of them show his home address as being in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.

The same address is given for his UK company directorships.

The IBRC insisted on Monday that Mr Quinn no longer actually has any UK-based directorships, despite the bankruptcy order in his favour listing his business address as being in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

‘That information is seriously at odds with (IBRC’s) information and accordingly, there exists a basis for challenging the determination that the seat of the main insolvency proceedings for Sean Quinn is Northern Ireland,’ they said.

‘(IBRC’s) consistent understanding of the business of Sean Quinn is inconsistent with the contention that his centre of main interest is Northern Ireland.’

They added: ‘(Mr Quinn) has consistently indicated that his home is at Ballyconnell, County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland.

‘He has done so in the Form B1 Annual Return of all 95 companies registered in the Republic of Ireland in respect of which he is or was a director.’

The bank, in its affidavit, insisted that since it has started to take action against Mr Quinn, he has ‘to (IBRS’s) consistent knowledge, been residing in and operating out of his family home in Ballyconnell and in offices at a disused tyre factory in Belturbet, Co Cavan.

‘All of the Quinn family live in this jurisdiction, they instruct solicitors in this jurisdiction to manage their affairs, their bank accounts are with Irish banks.

‘(IBRC’s) consistent understanding is that Sean Quinn has been operating out of Cavan.

‘In terms of a business premises, it has been (IBRC’s) consistent understanding that Sean Quinn has been operating from the tyre plant in Belturbet, Co Cavan.’

However, a day after details of this affidavit were published. Mr Quinn’s statement about his income, expenditure and assets were leaked to a newspaper.

The details are now being examined by IBRC’s legal team and are likely to feature again when their bid to overturn the bankruptcy returns to court on Monday.

An IBRC spokeswoman said last night: ‘IBRC welcomes the decision of the Commercial Court to enter the proceedings served against Sean and Patricia Quinn on 3 November 2011 to its list so that it will benefit from the expedited procedures available in that court.

‘IBRC will continue to seek to enforce the security granted in favour of it by the Quinns.

‘IBRC will contest the validity of Sean Quinn’s application for bankruptcy in the Northern Ireland.

‘As a nationalised financial institution, IBRC is determined to recoup its costs and to maximise recovery for the taxpayer and the State.’

ends