In the early years of the twenty-first century, Seán Quinn was considered to be Ireland’s richest man, with a Midas touch: everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. His company owned Ireland’s only glass producers, and one of its biggest insurance companies. The Quinn Group built the Slieve Russell, one of Ireland’s premier hotels, and owned one of Britain’s most prestigious golf resorts, The Belfry, as well as a number of pubs, hotels, office complexes and shopping centres across Europe and Asia.
But between 2007 and 2013, Quinn’s companies went from being a great success to a complete disaster. The Quinn Group became one of Ireland’s biggest ever business failures. Seán Quinn became Ireland’s biggest ever bankruptcy, and in the winter of 2012–2013 he ended up in jail for nine weeks, having been found in contempt of court.
Why did his empire collapse so suddenly, and disastrously? The Quinn businesses had invested heavily in ‘contracts for difference’ (CFDs) in Anglo-Irish Bank, a blue-chip company. The failure of the Irish banking system in 2008 eventually led to Quinn’s losses of €3 billion, and to the demise of his business empire, devastating Quinn, his family, and his local community.
Now Seán Quinn has decided to tell his life story, and to correct some of the falsehoods that have been propagated over the past decade or more. Many people have already sought to tell the Seán Quinn story, but now, for the first time, Quinn details his side of the story. Seán Quinn: My Story encompasses not just the personal, but also the story of his family and company. In this book, Seán Quinn admits his own mistakes, but also seeks to uncover the wrongs that have been committed by other people – some of whom he trusted too much, and some who wanted to use him as a scapegoat for Ireland’s banking crisis.