At the beginning of 2009, businessman Sean Quinn has confirmed that his family has sustained losses in excess of €1 billion on its investments in Anglo Irish Bank, but vigorously denied any impropriety in relation to his sharedealings in the bank.
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“In an interview broadcast on RTE this evening, Mr Quinn said that he and his family have written off their investments in Anglo. However, he stressed that they could absorb the loss as Quinn Group makes €400 or €500 million profit a year, and he strongly denied any wrongdoing.
While the investment was “a bad mistake”, and loss is “hurtful”, he said that he believes that a lot of individuals and companies have lost a lot more in sharedealings than his family.
“I suppose in hindsight we were too greedy by… being so much involved in stocks and shares,” he conceded.
Responding to negative criticism of his family’s stock market investments, he dismissed speculation of any wrongdoing as “outlandish”.
Mr Quinn resigned from the board of Quinn Insurance last October for failing to notify the Financial Regulator about loans of €288 million to other Quinn firms which were used to invest in Anglo.
Commenting on this yesterday, he said that “there was no big issue” with this loan, and while it was a breach of regulations, he does not view it as an impropriety.
“We said at the time, and we still say, there was never any risk to policyholders, shareholders, there was no risk to anybody,” he said.
“We don’t owe anybody any great apology,” he continued. “If we owe an apology to anybody it’s our staff. Maybe we slowed up the growth of the company, and maybe the reputation was tarnished.”
When asked what he would change from the last 24 months, he said that he wouldn’t have bought shares. ”I would have invested more of my money in India and Russia,” he said.“I never envisaged for one minute that what happened would happen.”
He said that he felt a “media frenzy” had built up around the Quinn Group, which is a great employer, and added that he has no idea why “the agenda is to get Quinn”.
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