"Messiah To Face Offshore Probe", Sunday World
Revenue Officials Examine Payments Made To Quinn's Accounts, by Nicola Tallant
THE TAXMAN has launched a major investigation into the transfer of funds to off shore bank accounts which will include payments made to Mind Messiah Tony Quinn’s multi-million euro financial empire, the Sunday World has learned.
Payments made to the guru’s offshore accounts for his mind-bending seminars in the sun will be examined by tax officials who are trawling through transfers from Irish bank accounts in a bid to recoup any lost revenue for the Irish taxpayer.
Quinn, who some followers believe is a Jesus Christ figure, is a tax exile.
He regularly boasts that he doesn’t pay any tax in Ireland despite earning a huge chunk of his millions directly from followers here.
He even offers advice to those who attend his pricey €63,500 seminars on how they should follow his role and avoid paying tax.
A lengthy Sunday World investigation into Quinn’s Educo cult and the multi millions that pass into his hands every year has uncovered how he:
- earned at least €34m from the sale of seminars in Ireland alone which has all been channelled through a company account in Jersey;
- instructed followers to use a Newry-based account for years to bank cash donations that have flooded into his organisation since the 1980s;
- developed a complex labyrinth of accounts based in banks in Jersey, New York, Frankfurt, Switzerland and the Bahamas to move money around;
- has a team of dedicated recruits here who ‘hard sell’ his seminars and often accept bags of cash from followers before they set off for his two-week courses;
- has amassed assets including two luxury penthouse apartments on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, a million-euro yacht and exclusive properties in Dublin and London; and
- has told friends he has been ‘gifted’ US$24m in shares from an oil company run by a dedicated follower and 10 per cent of a billion-dollar private jet company owned by a second disciple.
Today, Quinn and members of his cult will be stunned to realise that a top-level tax investigation is underway by a team of experts in off-shore assets, which will include probing the payments made to his Jersey-based corporation.
A senior tax official made an application to the High Court last November and was granted a court order in December by Judge Mary Laffoy to compel banks to pass on details of any monies transferred to accounts in the Channel Islands tax haven. These include the monies paid into Quinn’s company HPR (Human Potential Resources) Limited in Jersey.
HPR is Quinn’s central company which handles all his seminar fees since he first started holding the overseas courses in 1993. Revenue officials will closely examine the transactions to ensure that they are tax compliant.
Over the past few months, followers and former devotees who have made payments or written cheques through their Irish bank accounts to the Channel Islands company have been contacted and told that the information is being passed to the Revenue Commissioners.
Human Potential Resources Limited was set up after Quinn saw the enormous money-making potential in the ‘seminars’ he started in Dublin in the late 1980s after making his name as a yoga instructor.
A source close to Quinn’s inner circle claims that the first one, held in the RDS, lured a crowd of 1,200 – each of whom paid £150 (€190) to be in the presence of the guru. At the same time, he was earning thousands a week from postal ‘healings’ sent to his Eccles Street headquarters in inner city Dublin. By 1993 he had moved to the Bahamas on the advice of a former Price Waterhouse Cooper financial-expert-turned-devotee.
Two businessmen, including one former tax officer from Ireland, were employed to handle the off-shore company and all its financial dealings.
Quinn got a huge cash boost in 1995 when he was employed as boxer Steve Collins’s ‘mental coach’ and was paid up to €500,000 to hypnotise him to “feel no pain” in a bout against Chris Eubank.
Collins won the fight and Quinn’s popularity soared as hundreds signed over sums of €20,000 to spend time in his presence and learn his techniques.
As the business continued to grow, Quinn started one-on-one sessions where clients got to spend two weeks alone with the guru at a cost of £100,000 (€127,000).
Then he came up with the ‘Executive Seminars’ where for £50,000 (€63,500) a smaller group were offered the secrets to self realisation and success.
By 2003 he began marketing the ‘Mind Masters’ seminars while the price stood at €18,500 for ordinary seminars and €63,500 for the ‘Masters.’
Followers paid for their own flights and for their money got a 13-day session with Quinn and one day off to admire the stunning setting of Paradise Island.
Over the past seven years, Quinn has held the seminars every four months from Monaco to Marbella and Egypt to Monte Carlo.
Back home, his Tony Quinn Health Centres have continued to thrive and now there are now 13 stores across Ireland. The last abridged accounts filed at the Companies office show that the company retained a profit of just €36,845 in the year to October 2008.
In recent years, Quinn has made further money from his Educo gym network.
Gym branches have been opened by followers who attend courses with him, purchase the franchise from him and pay a hefty fee to use his ‘time machine’ exercise equipment in the gyms which are staffed by instructors trained by Quinn.
But it is the seminars in the sun which are currently under the microscope by Revenue.
The Sunday World has revealed how thousands of Irish people have taken out huge loans, borrowed credit and even re-mortgaged their houses to pay for the seminars after falling for Quinn’s promises. Those who travel for the courses, many of whom believe Quinn to be Jesus Christ, go to experience what he describes as “The Force”, named after the mystic force in Star Wars.
Just like the fictional movies, he claims the energy it produces will enhance their physical and mental abilities and footage we have obtained behind the doors of such seminars shows participants writhing on the floor in ecstasy as Quinn promises them the ‘designer lives’ they dream of.
A leading doctor, Dr John Butler, who is an expert in the field of cults, has told the Sunday World that the people are simply being placed into a deep state of hypnotic relaxation by Quinn and that their ‘shakes’ are brought on by nothing more than the power of suggestion.
We have uncovered how an incredible 3,000 people have already hand- ed over €18,500 to attend the seminars while more than 400 have paid €63,500 for his ‘master classes’ – which affords them a brief aura fixing with the guru.
The 62-year-old former butcher and his young South African lover Eve refused to talk to the Sunday World last July when we confronted him in the playboy’s paradise of Monaco where he was holding a seminar.
Article sourced from Dialogue Ireland.