Ireland's former richest person declared bankrupt

Ireland`s former richest person declared bankrupt 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 2.7 billion).

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 denies.

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.