Dublin: A famed entrepreneur who was once
rated Ireland's richest person was declared bankrupt as a bank
pursues him for debts exceeding 2.1 billion Irish Pound (USD
Lawyers for tycoon Sean Quinn withdrew his opposition to
a Republic of Ireland bankruptcy order sought by the former
Anglo Irish Bank, the reckless lender at the center of
Ireland's calamitous property crash.
The bankruptcy judgment will force a thorough court
investigation of Quinn's finances, which the bank hopes will
reveal capital and assets that it can reclaim from Quinn, his
wife and five children.
Quinn, 64, didn't attend yesterday's court hearing. He
issued a statement accusing the bank of pursuing "a personal
vendetta" and declaring that the "judgment in no way improves
Anglo's prospects of recovering money for the taxpayer."
Quinn had a reported 2007 net worth of IP 4.7 billion
(USD6 billion) but sank much of his fortune into Anglo months
before the bank the most aggressive lender to Ireland's
construction barons suffered crippling losses as the country's
decade-long property bubble burst.
The Quinn family secretly built up to a 28 percent stake
in Anglo shares using an ill-regulated financial instrument
that hid the scale of their investment from other
stockholders. As Anglo's share price plunged, Quinn says the
bank encouraged his family to borrow hundreds of millions
specifically to buy more Anglo stock, a charge the bank
Ireland nationalized Anglo in 2009 to prevent its
collapse, wiping out a Quinn family investment estimated at
IP 2.8 billion. The government last year renamed Anglo as the
Irish Bank Resolution Corp., or IBRC. Its bailout is expected
to cost taxpayers IP 29 billion, a bill so great it
overwhelmed Ireland's finances and forced the government last
year to negotiate a humiliating loan pact with the European
Union and International Monetary Fund.
Dublin Commercial Court Justice Elizabeth Dunne told
Quinn's lawyer Gavin Simons that Quinn would have to appear in
person in coming days to provide documents showing how much
he's worth today.
First Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 10:20