Quinn adviser says he did not ‘mastermind’ plan to hide assets

Michael Waechter helped set up firms in Belize and Panama and co-ordinated legal action

Michael Waechter: said Senat was paid “less” than $1 million for organising the Quinn’s defence. “It is a marketing disaster,” he added.

Michael Waechter: said Senat was paid “less” than $1 million for organising the Quinn’s defence. “It is a marketing disaster,” he added.

 

A Swiss former financial adviser to the family of Seán Quinn has strenuously denied being the “mastermind” behind an alleged conspiracy to move €500 million worth of overseas property assets away from the former Anglo Irish Bank.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Michael Waechter – the founder of Senat, a United Arab Emirates legal and business advisory firm – said he had co-ordinated some of the Quinn’s legal actions and helped set up Belize and Panama firms for them, but he had at all times acted legally.

Mr Waechter said in mid-2011 his firm bought controlling shares in a Quinn company that owned an $80 million business park in India on the behalf of an unnamed client for under $1 million.


‘Ridiculously low’
Mr Waechter admits this price appears “ridiculously low”, but claims an independent report from a small Indian accountancy firm as well as advice from a senior Indian lawyer proves he acted legally.

“We are confident that [what] we have done [is] in line with Indian law,” he said.

Mr Waechter said he has met KPMG, the liquidator of Anglo, with a view to settling matter in India for a “very small” payment, understood to be about $2 million.

“We would not accept a settlement and this issue is subject to current court proceedings,” KPMG said in response.

Mr Waechter said his firm co-ordinated the Quinn family’s legal actions in Cyprus, Ireland and India between mid- 2011 and August 2012 but had nothing to do with events in the Ukraine and Russia, where the Quinns also own assets.

Sentat Legal he said spent between $7 million and $8 million paying legal firms to support the Quinns.


Money source
The source of this money was, he said, “private investors and from companies.”

Mr Waechter declined to say who was paid his firm millions to fund the Quinns.

In total, he said, Senat was paid “less” than $1 million for organising the Quinn’s defence. “It is a marketing disaster,” he said. “It is definitely not a position we want to be in. [It is] ridiculously small when you see the effect it has on us.”

He said Senat was paid between $2,500 and $30,00 for setting up each of eight companies in Belize and Panama for Peter Darragh Quinn, Quinn’s nephew, and Russian business partners, in 2011. He said he did not fully know what these firms, which Anglo claims were used for asset-stripping, were intended for.

Mr Waechter said Senat employees were being “harassed” by investigators funded by the Irish state. KPMG said it had “not hired anyone or any firm to investigate Senat or Senat employees.”