Sean Quinn, who was once Ireland’s richest man, has applied for bankruptcy seven months after he lost control of his family business Quinn Group.
Quinn, who developed a business empire from a gravel pit and expanded it to include cement, hotels, pubs and insurance, reportedly lost more than €1 billion after investing in Anglo Irish Bank.
“I have done absolutely everything in my power to avoid taking this drastic action. I cannot now pay those loans that are due,” Quinn said in a statement.
The family owes €2.8 billion to the Irish bank as a consequence of a share-buying spree in Anglo, using money loaned by the bank. This ultimately proved disastrous when the Quinn family’s stake in Anglo, now renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corp, became worthless after it was badly hit by the economic crisis.
The bank, which was nationalised by the Irish government in 2009, ousted the Quinns from the family business last April.
“I worked tirelessly to find a solution to the problems, which arose from the ill-fated investments in Anglo… I find myself left with no other alternative,” Quinn added in the statement.
Known during the boom years in Ireland as “Mighty Quinn”, the Irish entrepreneur was worth an estimated €4.7 billion at the height of his success in 2008, but was also one of the biggest individual losers of the financial crisis, according to Forbes.
Quinn’s brother, nephew and five children all worked in the business.