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Quinn: I might be sent back to prison

Published 04/01/2013

BANKRUPT tycoon Sean Quinn has said it is possible he will be sent back to jail.

The one-time richest man in Ireland was released from Dublin's Mountjoy prison yesterday morning after serving a nine-week sentence for contempt of court.

The Fermanagh-born businessman said his stint at the prison's training unit had been "tough" but a learning experience.

"I suppose I found it tough but when you come to 66 years of age, you've been through many a thing over that period," he said.

"I could fit in with most environments and I fitted in. The staff were very good, very professional, but of course, when you find a door slamming at nine o'clock at night, it's not nice.

"It's not something I was used to and it's not something I felt I deserved."

Mr Quinn said he was pleased to return to his family home in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan and felt "happy that I have a good wife and a good family, that I can come to a warm environment and a warm community".

He said that other inmates in the prison did not feel he should have been jailed.

"I think 100 per cent of them felt I shouldn't be there," he told the BBC.

"I certainly felt I shouldn't be there, after creating 7,000 jobs, after never in my life owing anybody a penny.

"Never in my life did I steal a penny or take a penny that didn't belong to me."

Mr Quinn was jailed in November for not purging his contempt in the High Court for his role in an asset-stripping plot.

Judge Elizabeth Dunne ruled Quinn and his son Sean jnr had attempted to put a multi-million-euro asset portfolio beyond the reach of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

He was granted compassionate leave for three days to spend Christmas with his family and returned to Mountjoy on December 27 to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Mr Quinn said it was possible he would have to return to the jail.

"Can we go back to jail? Yes we can," he said.

"Could other members of the family go back to jail? They can continue this charade as long as they want and as long as the public opinion and as long as the media backs them in doing that, they're very keen to do that.

"So I have genuinely no idea what their next move is going to be," he said.

Mr Quinn's son, Sean jnr, who was also jailed for three months, has offered to sell the penthouse apartment he shares with wife Karen on the outskirts of Dublin's Phoenix Park to demonstrate his will-ingness to purge contempt.

His cousin Peter Darragh Quinn, son of former GAA president Peter Quinn, was also sentenced for contempt but remains on the run after he fled to Northern Ireland.

IBRC, the rebranded Anglo Irish Bank, is pursuing the family for debts of €2.8 billion (£2.27m) run up by Quinn snr in failed share deals.

The judge found the three Quinn men consciously defied and misled the courts as they shifted family assets as far afield as Ukraine, Russia and Belize. ■ RELEASED: A videograb shows Sean Quinn talking to the BBC yesterday ■ SENTENCE: Sean Quinn arriving at the High Court in Dublin in November before he was jailed for nine weeks for contempt of court PICTURE: Lorraine Teevan ■ WELCOME BACK: Sean Quinn received a warm welcome home as he crossed the border from Meath into Cavan yesterday morning from the residents of Virginia. A large sign, erected on a digger, welcomed Quinn to the town