Dutch solicitor with Quinn links dies in Dubai

Willem Smit’s law firm which had dealings with Quinn family is being sued by IBRC

A Dutch solicitor who had dealings with the international property portfolio formerly owned by the family of businessman Seán Quinn, and who was a partner in a law firm that is being sued by the State-owned IBRC, has died in Dubai.

Willem Smit and his business partner Michael Waechter were the principals in a Dubai-based law firm, Senat, that featured prominently in the so-called conspiracy case involving international property worth hundreds of millions of euro.

Last month the men were found to be in contempt of court and orders for their committal to prison were issued.

Mr Waechter has confirmed to The Irish Times that Smit died on December 6th last, in Dubai. He said Smit died of a suspected heart attack and that his death was unexpected. He did not want to comment further.


The State-owned IBRC, which is now in liquidation, has said that members of the Quinn family, and others including Senat, were involved in an effort to unlawfully put international property worth hundreds of millions of euro, over which the IBRC held legal security, beyond the the State-owned body’s reach.

Because Smit and Mr Waechter had been found guilty of contempt, they were no longer entitled to defend the case against Senat (now called Cresco) in the proceedings.

Earlier this year the court was told that false documents had been used to support criminal complaints that prevented Irish businessman Robert Dix from travelling to India as part of the IBRC effort to assert control over property there worth more than €65 million.

The apparently forged documents featured in a hearing where Mr Justice Haughton said it was “almost certain” that members of the Quinn family had been involved in the extraction of approximately €10 million from the company in India that owned a property there, that Smit was part of the “elaborate scheme” and that he was motivated by reward.

A case where the Quinn family is challenging the legality of loans of more than €2 billion is to open early next year and is expected to last up to three months. In the wake of that case the conspiracy proceedings are expected to begin and will concern the battle over the international property portfolio, most of which is now under the control of the IBRC.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times