MINISTER FOR FINANCE Brian Lenihan is reported to be insisting that Fermanagh businessman Sean Quinn repay the entirety of the €2.8bn he owes Anglo Irish Bank, so as to minimise the amount the taxpayer may have to put into the institution.
Quinn owes the massive loans through a combination of loans to the Quinn Group, currently in administration, and in personal lending to himself and his family, but the loans – which are now effectively owed to the taxpayer, with Anglo having been nationalised – are now a significant plank of the decimated bank’s loan portfolio.
Today’s Irish Independent reports that the state may pursue the Quinn family’s personal assets in order to recoup the losses, though the loans are highly unlikely ever to be repaid in full.
It is not known how much of the enormous portfolio may be transferred over to the National Asset Management Agency, which has revised the quantity of loans it is to take from each of Ireland’s banks, though almost half of Anglo’s entire portfolio is to be taken on board by the Agency in return for the government’s €4.3bn extra recapitalisation announced last week.
A Department of Finance spokesperson insisted that the loans would have to be repaid in full, and that Anglo had been instructed to pursue every possible step to recoup the debt.
Neither the Quinn family nor Anglo itself had any comment to make to the Independent when contacted.
It was reported last month that Anglo was considering launching a takeover bid for the Quinn Group – a move that would likely secure at least partial repayment of the loans, though to the detriment of the group’s long-term prospects – while earlier in September the nationalised bank had written down the value of the loans to €1.7bn.