Ex-tycoon ordered to repay €1.7bn in debts

BANKRUPT business tycoon Seán Quinn has been ordered to repay €1.7bn in debts to the former Anglo Irish Bank following court action he described last night as “pointless, self-serving and vindictive”.

It was the largest summary judgment amount entered in the courts following the action by the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), formerly Anglo.

The 64-year-old has now been hit with two separate judgments of €1.74bn and €417m by the Commercial Court in Dublin over loans from the nationalised lender.

IBRC chief executive Mike Aynsley was in the Commercial Court yesterday when Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted the bank’s application for additional summary judgment orders totalling about €1.7bn against the businessman.

Mr Aynsley said Mr Quinn gave the bank guarantees and indemnities in respect of extensive borrowings which benefited Quinn companies and Quinn family members and the judgment gave “clear, unambiguous recognition to the legal obligations of Mr Quinn in relation to these guarantees”.

The orders arose mainly from guarantees executed by Mr Quinn over loans to various Quinn companies to acquire property here and in several countries overseas, including India and Russia.

Mr Quinn voluntarily filed for bankruptcy in the North on November 11, nine days after the bank issued its summary judgment proceedings and two days before they were due before the Commercial Court.

IBRC has since brought proceedings in the North seeking to annul his adjudication as a bankrupt. The bank has applied on grounds including that, contrary to Mr Quinn’s claim his centre of main interests was in the North, the centre was in the Republic.

The one-time cement, insurance, hotels and industrial magnate claimed he was the victim of a personal vendetta. In a statement, he said the bank’s action “in no way” improved its prospects of recovering money for the taxpayer and there was “absolutely no regard for the wasting of public funds to pursue pointless legal appeals”. He said Anglo was pursuing a “personal vendetta” against him while “making no apparent effort to stabilise the free-fall of the Quinn Group over the past seven months”.

He claimed the motivation for the bank’s action was to “ensure that I could never possibly create another single job again in my lifetime, as they may feel that this would be a PR embarrassment that they could not afford”.

Mr Justice Kelly noted he had last week ruled the IBRC was entitled to about €417m summary judgment orders as Mr Quinn had admitted in his bankruptcy proceedings in the North he was liable to the bank for $219.9m and €253.9m (totalling about €417m).

The case goes to a full two-day hearing starting on December 19 in the High Court in Belfast, with Mr Quinn expected to attend in case a judge calls on him to clarify his bankruptcy application.

He has claimed he only has €11,000 in the bank.

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