What is Sean Quinn’s net worth?
Sean Quinn is an Irish businessman who at one time was the richest person in Ireland with a net worth that peaked at $6 billion. He filed bankruptcy in 2011 and today has a net worth of just $100 thousand. He made his fortune as the founder and owner of the QUINN Group, a family-run conglomeration focused on construction materials manufacturing, hospitality, and property management. Due in large part to his debt to Anglo Irish Bank, which nearly collapsed during the global financial recession in 2008, Quinn filed for bankruptcy in Northern Ireland in late 2011, and was declared bankrupt in Ireland in early 2012. In November 2012, he was jailed for three months for contempt of court, having allegedly engaged in asset stripping by arranging a payment of $500,000 to the general director of Quinn Properties Ukraine, just before losing control of the company. Sean Quinn went from being worth $6 billion to $0 in just four years.
Seán Quinn was born as John Quinn on December 5, 1947 in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He has an older brother named Peter, with whom he played Gaelic football growing up. Peter went on to become the president of the Gaelic Athletic Association in 1991.
In 1973, Quinn borrowed £100 and began extracting gravel from his family’s farm, washing it and selling it to builders in the area. He soon turned this into a quarrying business called Quinn Cement, and eventually expanded it to become the QUINN Group. The company evolved by venturing into many different areas, including manufacturing, real estate, and property management. It produced cement and concrete products, container glass, radiators, and plastics, among other construction materials. In 1996, the company began its financial services division.
QUINN Group continued to substantially diversify its portfolio over the years, and in the 21st century became a leading entity in Ireland’s hospitality industry by setting up a number of hotels. The centerpiece hotel, Slieve Russell Hotel, was built in Ballyconnell, County Cavan. QUINN also took control of many high-profile hotels overseas, including the Prague Hilton in the Czech Republic and the Hilton Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2007, the group acquired the health insurance company Bupa Ireland. By the following year, Quinn had become the richest person in Ireland.
Recession and Bankruptcy
During the global financial recession in 2008, the Quinn family’s net worth fell precipitously. This was mostly due to the near-collapse of Anglo Irish Bank, in which Quinn had built up a 28% stake and to which he owed over €2.8 billion. To make matters worse, Quinn Insurance was issued a €3.25 million fine by Ireland’s Financial Regulator, and Quinn himself was fined €200,000; both fines were in response to loans that violated insurance regulations. Quinn and his companies have since been wound up in a series of litigations spanning multiple jurisdictions.
In the spring of 2011, Kieran Wallace was appointed as the share receiver to Anglo Irish Bank and took control of the Quinn family’s equity interest in the QUINN Group. Later in the year, Quinn applied for voluntary bankruptcy in Northern Ireland; his application was annulled on appeal. However, in early 2012, he was declared bankrupt in Ireland.
About six months after he was declared bankrupt, Quinn, along with his brother and one of his sons, was found to have acted in contempt of orders prohibiting asset-stripping of the family company. As a result, the three were served with around 30 coercive court orders. Quinn ended up being sentenced to nine weeks in jail for his contempt of court. He ultimately served around 12 weeks, being released in early 2013. He and all five of his adult children were subsequently cross-examined by lawyers from the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, who found that major sums of money had been paid to Quinn’s family by Russian subsidiaries of Quinn’s real estate business. Litigation related to this and other cases remains ongoing.
With his wife Patricia, Quinn has five children named Seán Jr., Colette, Ciara, Aoife, and Brenda, all of whom have worked in the family business. The family lives in Ballyconnell, Tullyhaw, County Cavan near Quinn’s famed Slieve Russell Hotel.
In 1999, Quinn received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. Among his other honors, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast.