One of Ireland’s richest men has stepped down from his flagship business and been fined a record €3.5m by the state’s financial watchdog, it was revealed today.
Sean Quinn resigned as chairman of Quinn Insurance Ltd following a lengthy investigation by the Financial Regulator.
The probe centred on breaches of business rules after loans were provided to related companies.
The fine massively eclipses the former record set in March of this year when Fexco Stockbroking was forced to pay €80,000 euro for breaching regulations.
The regulator ruled that Quinn Insurance breached regulations when it loaned €288m to other companies within the Quinn Group, which include finance, glass, plastics, concrete, cement and leisure operations.
In a statement, Mr Quinn admitted he was very disappointed with the decisions he made which over-exposed some of his firms to stock market investments.
“These loans breached insurance regulations and as a result of this the Financial Regulator has sanctioned Quinn Insurance and myself,” he said.
“I accept complete responsibility for this breach of regulation.
“While I accept that I made mistakes, I feel that the levels of fines do not reflect the fact that there was no risk to policyholders or the taxpayer but are a result of the pressures existing in the current environment.
“However we will pay the fines and move on.”
In a short statement, the Financial Regulator said it had reasonable cause to suspect breaches of regulatory requirements occurred in the firm.
QIL was fined €3.25m while Mr Quinn had to pay €200,000.
“These breaches related to contraventions by QIL of obligations under the Insurance Acts and Regulations, including failure to notify the Financial Regulator prior to providing loans to related companies,” said a spokesman.
The statement said Mr Quinn was stepping down as chairman and as a director. James Quigley has been appointed chairman.
No consequences have arisen for any of the firm’s policyholders as a result of the suspected breaches, according to QIL.
The Financial Regulator said QIL cooperated without delay and that the matter was now closed.