An Irish court ordered the country’s former richest man to repay €1.7-billion ($2.3-billion U.S.) to a state-owned bank on Monday in the largest judgment ever issued against an individual in Ireland.
Sean Quinn, whose €4-billion business empire collapsed after a disastrous investment in Anglo Irish Bank before its 2009 nationalization, was last week ordered to pay the lender €417-million, bringing his total liability to €2.1-billion.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was “quite satisfied” that Anglo, recently renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, was entitled to the summary judgment orders.
Anglo Irish Bank was the poster child for the reckless lending at the heart of Ireland’s financial crisis, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the €70-billion bill to save the banking sector from collapse.
Anglo, which says Quinn owes it up to €2.9-billion, is seeking to overturn his recent bankruptcy in a Northern Irish court.
Mr. Quinn, 64, who declared to the Northern Irish authorities his assets were now only €11,169 and an aged Mercedes car, disputes the amount owed and claims it is nowhere near as much.
“Today’s action by Anglo Irish Bank in my view is totally pointless, self-serving and vindictive,” Mr. Quinn said in a statement. “In no way does it improve the bank’s prospects of recovering money for the taxpayer.”
Mr. Quinn developed a rural quarrying operation into a fortune of €4-billion before investing massively in the now-failed Anglo Irish.
His Quinn Insurance business, which was put under bankruptcy protection last year, was recently bought by U.S. general insurer Liberty Mutual.
Mr. Quinn is still regarded as a local hero for creating thousands of jobs in his home county of Cavan where locals have held rallies in recent months to show their support.