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LIKE ICARUS HE GOT TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN AND CAME UNSTUCK
on 18 November 2013
Sean Quinn certainly strutted the run in the Republic of Ireland. Rising from farming stock, he shone as an entrepreneur, first using his farm land as a quarry to supply a fledgling cement manufacturer, which was highly successful, and led to rapid diversification into many other related and non-related manufacturing industries and financial businesses including an insurance company.
Profits flowed from his ventures, although latterly doubt was cast on the accuracy of the accounting practices particularly in his financial services ventures, and The Quinn Group became one of the largest concerns in Ireland, with massive profits, and many employees that, by and large were very grateful for the opportunities Sean Quinn had bestowed on a hitherto somewhat depressed area, he was loved, admired and trusted by most particularly his closely knit family whom he worshiped.
If only he was content to enjoy his creations and the riches they produced for him, but no he wanted even more wealth and turned to the highly dangerous 'casino' type gambling in financial derivatives, using the highly speculative toxic 'Contracts For Difference'(CFD) method whereby for a little initial outlay vast quantities of shares can be contracted for, in his case those of Anglo Irish Bank, who happened to be a substantial lender to his various businesses. If the shares in Anglo for which Quinn held went up in value. which for a short time they did he was quids or should I say Euros in. But alas they didn't and with each fall he was obliged to pay margin calls to his counter-parties, which because of the large quantity of his CFD's and the high percentage of Anglo Irish shares owned, put a huge strain on his resources. This put Anglo in a bind as they were fighting to stay financially alive in the Celtic Tiger Fiscal Meltdown, and they were obliged to fund Quinn to the tune of several Euro-billions to cover these margin calls, lest the truth of Quinn's massive holding (upwards of 25% of Anglo shares) unfurled and the shares were dumped on the market. This would have expedited Anglo's fate even sooner than other events. Quinn finished up owing Anglo nearly Euros 3 billion, which together with other personal and family debt and the economic downturn badly affecting his other businesses, forced Quinn into insolvency and bankruptcy.
But instead of facing the reality of and accepting blame for his reckless foray into derivative gambling, he has spent several years with the connivance of his family, doing everything he can to avoid the financial responsibility of his unwise CFD wagers, and has embarked upon a course of using every sleight of hand in the book to whistle his and his family's assets around the world in a murky web of corporate manipulation with the sole purpose of keeping it out of the hands of the Irish Taxpayers who had to pick up the tab when Anglo folded with huge bad debts including of course, those of Sean Quinn. His negative, evasive, and evading response to his massive mistake of judgement in respect of the CFD boo-boo, has to a great extent allowed the hitherto prominent and glowing halo to slip from this charismatic character which is a shame as he started off as a good bloke whose downfall was, alas the belief in the infallibility of his entrepreneurial prowess.
An excellently researched, and narrated work, that leaves the reader bewailing the unhappy ending.