Sean Quinn, the former businessman who was once Ireland's richest man, told the press this week he has apologized to own his family 'on a number of occasions' for the 'fundamental mistake' that resulted in him losing control of his multi-billion euro empire, concluding with bankruptcy and a prison sentence.
Speaking to the Impartial Reporter, Quinn spoke of his pain as a father, adding that spending time in jail last year for contempt of court made him determined to clear his name.
Quinn also spoke of his belief that Irish Prime minister Enda Kenny 'must know there was a cock-up' in how he was sold ill-fated shares in the failing Anglo Irish Bank.
Speaking at his home in Ballyconnell, County Cavan, the father-of-five spoke of his regret that his adult children have been getting the blame for his mistakes.
'I should never have bought the shares in Anglo, I should never have taken money from Quinn Direct to buy or support shares. But the Quinn family; the five kids, are the victims of this, and I have apologized to them on a number of occasions. I should not have done what I done. I got carried away, wrongly. I was far too influenced about all the reports I got and I made a fundamental mistake. But at the end of the day it was based on fraudulent information. Why blame the family? Why blame the kids for that?' he asked.
Quinn was found guilty of moving multi-million euro assets from the family's international property portfolio last year and ended up in Mountjoy Prison for nine weeks, separated from his family for the first time.
Quinn was found guilty of moving those assets as was his son Sean Junior, yet even now he still maintains his innocence. He says the court has yet to decide who has ownership of the assets.
'Could we return to jail? Nothing would surprise me but I am telling you that I should never have been in jail. I say without fear of contradiction if I was to die tonight that I was never in contempt of court. You must remember that the people selling this story are very powerful.
'Life in jail made me more determined. I had a good life, but I found it incredible that Anglo was involved in fraud, that the Quinn family were the greatest victims of that fraud, were the biggest losers in Ireland and Europe because of that fraud, and yet the guys who were the victims and lost the most money finished up in jail. The boys responsible for that fraud were swanning about in big cars while I was in jail,' he said.
'You are asking me if I am just blaming everybody else?' continued Quinn, 'No, I am not. But I do feel the government and the people who have the responsibility should now know that if they were sold a pup it is time they turned around and admitted they got it wrong,' he said.
In his most sensational claim Quinn said that Enda Kenny knew back in 2009 that Anglo's loans to him were illegal.
'Enda Kenny, when he was leader of the opposition, put it to (former Prime Minister) Brian Cowen in February 2009 in the Irish parliament that these loans were illegal and were in breach of section 60. He knew about this then. Everyone knew Anglo was in trouble yet they didn't tell anyone. They didn't tell the brokers, they didn't tell me. I had no idea. I thought the bank was doing fine and we continued to buy shares in it,' he said.
Despite his allegation Quinn has also appealed to Kenny to launch a public enquiry into his family's case.
'My message to Enda Kenny is you must know that there was a real cock up. I would say, use your legislation, push the legislation that it is a criminal offense to withhold information regarding white collar crime, push it and give the family our data protection information and freedom of information, release the documents that are being withheld, open up the case, let someone come along in a public enquiry, and question the destruction of the Quinn Group,' he said.
Quinn repeatedly made the point that he was stupid to buy the shares but his criticisms of the former Anglo Irish Bank surpass his other considerations.
'Anglo made a mistake of over lending, of poor lending practices. The government was sold a pup, they were told that Sean Quinn was a disaster and wasn't running his companies well. The company had been doing well for 30 years. What I can't understand is why they don't know at this stage that they were told a pack of lies,' he said.
The interview with Quinn was conducted ahead of the G8 summit and prior to the release of the now notorious 'Anglo Tapes' that are currently riveting the public in Ireland.
'I am blessed with a good family. We are united in our determination that the truth will come out and it could be three, four years. There is a moral duty on the family that if lies are being told, if we were framed, if there was a cover up, to see this through,' he said.
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