Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn avoids jail after being held in contempt of court

Sean Quinn

Ireland’s former wealthiest businessman has avoided jail after he was found in contempt of court in Dublin this week.

Last Tuesday, Sean Quinn, his son Sean, and nephew Peter Darragh were found guilty of contempt by the High Court after it emerged they had tried to hide a €500 million ($634 million) property portfolio from the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

Quinn’s multi billion business empire collapsed after he made a disastrous investment in the now-nationalized Anglo Irish Bank. The bank, renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), is pursuing Quinn for debts of almost €3 billion ($3.73 billion). This week it emerged the businessman had attempted hide their assets by moving holdings in the Ukraine and Russia.

In Dublin‘s High Court, Mrs Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the three men had been dishonest and deceitful when they were questioned about their assets.

Instead of imposing a custodial sentence, the judge gave the former billionaire three weeks to co-operate with IBRC.

"I find it disappointing, at even this late stage, there seems to be no acknowledgement of the wrongdoing that has been done by the respondents in relation to specific matters that have been done," Justice Quinn said in her remarks.

BBC News reports Justice Quinn made a number of orders which must be complied with by July 20 including:

•  Full disclosure of all assets worldwide in which the three hold an interest;
•  A receiver be appointed over all assets, except for family homes and joint accounts;
•  The men must resign from the board of directors or from any managerial role in any company or body within the International Property Group (IPG)

The case will re-adjourn on July 20.