Sunday 17 December 2017

Emails link Russian contact to financial 'guru', claims IBRC

Swiss businessman Michael Waechter
Swiss businessman Michael Waechter

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor


MICHAEL Waechter is a Swiss-born guru in company structuring and wealth management who lives in Dubai.

He works for the Senat Group, which has standalone companies in Dubai, Vaduz, Vienna and Zurich.

He also heads up Senat FZC in Dubai, holding itself out as the "trusted partner" for those keen to do business in the Middle East.

Mr Waechter stands accused, in civil proceedings brought by the IBRC against the Quinns, of helping to orchestrate a vast international alleged "conspiracy" to defraud Irish taxpayers.

He strenuously denies this.

In a recent interview, the former advisor to the Quinns said that any assistance he gave to the family was entirely legal. But yesterday the IBRC disclosed the existence of a large number of emails between Mr Waechter and "Andrei".

The bank claims that "Andrei" is the Quinn family's alleged Russian contact who is central to the their asset stripping scheme.

"This is likely to be very significant as Mr Waechter repeatedly has denied having any connection with the scheme and in particular with the Russian Federation or the International Property Group (IPG) assets located," said the bank in court papers.

The IBRC first became aware of Mr Waechter when shares in Mack Soft, an Indian company that owns the Quinn family's €71m Q City office block in India, were transferred to Mecon FZE, a Dubai-registered entity.

The bank believes Mecon is ultimately owned by the Quinns, though the family strenuously denies this.

It discovered that the domain name for Mecon's corporate website was registered by Mr Waechter.

And it also found that Peter Darragh Quinn, former head of IPG, went to Dubai on June 20, 2011.

Peter met Mr Waechter in Dubai and asked him to buy eight offshore shelf companies in Panama and Belize "for the Quinn family" into which unsecured property assets belonging to the Quinns were apparently to be transferred.

It would later emerge that Senat's sister company in Dubai, Senat Legal, was acting as the "project manager" of the Quinn family's global litigation.

Irish Independent

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