Who is the richest man in Ireland
Richest man in Ireland broke through financial bet
From billionaire to billionaire debtor: the entrepreneur Sean Quinn had a fortune of 4.7 billion euros. Now he had to file for personal bankruptcy.
The former richest man in Ireland is broke after the failure of a risky financial bet. Sean Quinn filed for personal bankruptcy in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday.
At the height of the Irish boom in 2008, the Sunday Times named him the richest man on the island with a fortune of 4.7 billion euros. His company, the Quinn Group, founded in 1973, was primarily active in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Eastern Europe and Russia and employed 5,500 people.
Quinn had a storybook career, borrowing £ 100 as a young man to dig gravel on his father's farm. From this he built up a group over the years, the flagship being an insurance company.
2.9 billion debt with nationalized bank
Risky business ultimately led to bankruptcy: Quinn had invested heavily in Anglo Irish Bank since 2007, which he believed to be undervalued in the markets. But he was wrong: in 2009 the bank went under due to bad house loans and had to be nationalized.
Quinn owes the Irish state - according to the bank - 2.9 billion euros. Quinn himself says he owes the bank, which has now been renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), "only" 194 million euros. The IBRC announced it would do everything possible to get the money back for taxpayers in the financially troubled Republic of Ireland.
Revered as a hero
Quinn is still revered in his homeland as a hero who has created thousands of jobs. In the past few months, locals had demonstrated to support Quinn. "He has no way to service the debt," said his lawyer on Friday. "He has only a minimal fortune."
As early as April, Quinn had been stripped of control of his group in the wake of complicated legal entanglements. Now there is also a dispute over whether he should be held accountable under Republic of Ireland law or under UK law in the Northern Ireland region. In Northern Ireland he could be out of debt within a year. He was not allowed to do business in the republic for twelve years.
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