Former billionaire Sean Quinn said he believes he faced “hard justice” when he lost control of his empire. In the third and final part of RTÉ’s documentary series Quinn Country, which aired tonight, he denied having anything to do with the 2019 kidnapping and torture of Kevin Lunney, a former associate of Mr Quinn, the Chief Operations Officer at Quinn Industrial Holdings. He said: “Absolutely nothing, why would I bother with Kevin Lunney?”
But he added: “One thing I think someone should ask Kevin Lunney… why was he attacked?”
At the beginning of 2011, Mr. Quinn was 3.6 billion euros in debt. He owed the taxpayer, in the form of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), 2.4 billion euros for loans he took out for shares in Anglo Irish Bank. He also owed US bondholders €1.2 billion.
The Quinn empire was at stake and in April 2011 the state sent a team from Dublin north of the border to take over Mr Quinn’s affairs.
The third part of Quinn country focused on the period of attacks that began in the days following the company’s acquisition and in the years that followed to try to prevent the administrators from selling the Quinn companies.
“If you set the tone for the war, if you set the tone, go in and use those hard hands and put security everywhere, up the hill, 100 people to make sure everything’s okay, in a place that was so peaceful,” said Mr Quinn.
“We had gotten through 1973 to 2000 and there was trouble up north and people were getting shot and killed right, left and center and the Quinn group worked through it all and never had a problem.
“And for them to come in and do what they did, I think it was absolutely disgraceful, and I’m going to believe that to the last day I can catch my breath.”
On April 14, 2011, the trustees secured Quinn’s business premises in Ireland.
Former IBRC Chairman Alan Dukes said: “For us, this was the start of the next phase of the process. We were finally in a position where we thought we could actually control what was going to happen to the group of companies. Over time, we realized that this was becoming more and more of a problem.”
Later that year, a video surfaced of Sean Quinn Jnr and his cousin Peter Quinn allegedly showing them attempting to secure assets in Ukraine.
In 2012, both men were sentenced to three months in prison for contempt after trying to hide a €500 million property portfolio from the former Anglo Irish Bank.
Sean Quinn Snr was subsequently sentenced to nine weeks in Mountjoy Prison for contempt of court.
“The whole story revolved around the Quinns stealing taxpayer fortunes. We just gave them an ideal opportunity to kill us and they did it. All [that] 36/37 years put together it was all gone,” Mr Quinn said.
“We took on something we should never have taken on, we took on an institution, we took on a government and all aspects of it, and it was stupid.”
Mr Quinn’s sister, Bernie Maguire, said she was never “ashamed” of her brother or nephew’s prison sentence.
“The rural, culchie man in the frontier was an easy target. It almost seemed like he was the scapegoat, they made it look like he was the cause of the recession in Ireland,” she said.
“Even though the banks were broken, the government was broken, there was a lot, and they just couldn’t understand that the people down here were so loyal to him.”
Mr Quinn said that on the night he was imprisoned he went to a bar with friends and had “two pints of beer and two or three double brandies” and “driven straight to the white van and Mountjoy… I was drunk” . .
“What I’m saying is that they knew at the time that these loans were illegal. And everyone allowed these 2.3 billion euros to be loaned out illegally. So where does the Irish government sit in all this?” he said.
“We the government, we regulate the banks, and we allowed this guy to do that, so I think they got the spotlight. Well, the only thing we can do with him now is kill him, take everything from him, and dead men don’t talk.
“We’re going to throw the kitchen sink at him for the next two or three years and we’re going to bury him, and they got close to him.”
With new owners at the helm of the Quinn Group, then known as the Aventas Group, the intimidation campaign began to intensify.
Mr Quinn condemned the intimidation and violent attacks, saying he had “no hand, action or involvement in any attack”.
“Certainly the crude action of a people-elected Irish government was to invade with that heavy hand a rural area that had done nothing but good in that area, to take it over and destroy it was criminal,” he said.
“And of course it would increase tensions and of course things would happen and have happened. Was I part of it? Absolutely not.
“Was it done because of my anger? Was it done because I was telling the truth about the position? Maybe.
“But was I involved in the planning, absolutely not.
“In all the attacks that have happened, people have been pointing fingers at me, I had no hand, action or involvement in an attack.”
We took on something we should never have taken on, we took on an institution, we took on government and all its aspects, and it was stupid
In 2019, a dispute between the five adult Quinn children – Aoife, Brenda, Ciara, Colette and Sean Jnr – and the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) was settled after they agreed to see judgments totaling €440 million be issued against them.
“We firmly believed that the assets that Anglo was taking from us in Russia and Ukraine were not funding them and we felt we had every right to move them,” Mr Quinn said.
“Obviously we know that was a huge mistake and we shouldn’t have done it and the court found we had no right to defer them, although we felt we owned them, the court did not seen that way.”
Asked if he knew Cyril McGuinness, Mr Quinn said: “I knew him, yes everyone knew Dublin Jimmy. In fact, he didn’t like being called Dublin Jimmy. I never spoke to him.”
Cyril McGuinness, 55, orchestrated the kidnapping of Mr Lunney in September 2019. Mr Lunney is a member of the new management team at the company, now called Mannok.
McGuiness died after collapsing on property he was staying at during a police raid in Buxton, Derbyshire, UK on November 8, 2019.
He is believed to have arranged the logistics and managed the gang that kidnapped and tortured Mr Lunney after he was kidnapped outside his home in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh on 17 September 2019.
Mr Lunney was packed in the boot of a car and driven to a horsebox at a farm in Drumbrade, Co Cavan, where his captors ordered him to stand back, beat and slashed him, broke his leg with a wooden post and gave the company initials QIH carved his chest with a Stanley knife and doused him in an apparent attempt to hide forensic evidence.
Mr Lunney was left in his boxers, covered in blood, on a roadside in Drumcoghill, Co Cavan, where he crawled to safety and flagged down a passing tractor.
Three men have been jailed for kidnapping and torturing Mr Lunney. They were sentenced to between 15 and 25 years in prison.
Asked if he had anything to do with the attack on Mr Lunney, Mr Quinn said: “Absolutely nothing, why should I be concerned with Kevin Lunney? Just think why I should bother with Kevin Lunney.
“One thing I think someone should ask Kevin Lunney… why was he attacked?
“What they’ve done over the last six or seven years, and the level of betrayal, is probably unprecedented in the history of this state.
“I have nothing good to say about Kevin Lunney.
“I don’t think anyone, no matter how upset they are, should stoop to the level of what they did to Kevin Lunney, it should never have happened. People don’t do that to each other.”
Mr Quinn concluded the documentary with the following comment: “All I can say is that in my 75 years I have never knowingly taken anything that was not mine, ever.
“I think my legacy will be that I built a great company, employed a lot of people in a very poor area, was an honest man and thanks to Sean Quinn the area will be more prosperous than it would be without him, and his rough justice got.”
Quinn country can be streamed on RTÉ Player.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/i-have-nothing-good-to-say-about-kevin-lunney-says-sean-quinn-as-he-denies-involvement-in-abduction-in-final-part-of-rtes-quinn-country-42186834.html Quinn Country RTE: “I have nothing good to say about Kevin Lunney,” says Sean Quinn as he denies involvement in the kidnapping in the final installment of RTÉ’s Quinn Country