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Northern Irish Court Overturns Quinn Bankruptcy Declaration

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Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- A Northern Ireland court threw out businessman Sean Quinn’s voluntary bankruptcy in the U.K., ruling that his primary business activities were in the Republic of Ireland.

Judge Donnell Deeny overturned the bankruptcy order made by a Northern Ireland court on Nov. 11, saying the order shouldn’t have been made because Quinn’s business interests were in the Republic of Ireland when Dublin-based Irish Bank Resolution Corp Ltd., formerly Anglo Irish Bank Corp., made its petition against him.

Quinn was once ranked as Ireland’s richest man by Forbes magazine, which in 2008 put his worth at around $6 billion. He estimates that he lost more than 1 billion euros ($1.28 billion) after investing in Anglo Irish, which was nationalized in 2009. Quinn owes the bank nearly 2.9 billion euros, according to the lender. In April, IBRC appointed a share receiver to take over the Quinn family’s equity interest in Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd.

“The whole thing is a joke,” Quinn told reporters outside the Belfast court after the ruling, saying that he didn’t think the bank would retrieve its money. “How would you get it back? The company is destroyed. It is like somebody taking a sledgehammer to a child’s toy. It is wrecked.”

Quinn declined to say whether his lawyers would appeal the decision.

IBRC said it welcomed the court decision and will continue with bankruptcy proceedings against Quinn in the Republic of Ireland.

“As a nationalized financial institution, IBRC is determined to recoup its costs and maximize recovery for the taxpayer and the state,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

In November, IBRC was awarded judgments in the High Court in Dublin of 2.16 billion euros against money owed by Quinn.

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at cheatley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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