Pubdate: Thu, 17 Aug 2000
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2000 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407
Author: Marie O'Halloran


The Criminal Assets Bureau has seized a 19th-century mansion, its contents and an adjoining island near Sneem on the Ring of Kerry which are estimated to be worth pounds 2.5 million.

Bureau members at Clashnacree House in the townland of Derryquinn, at Sneem, and the island, known as island number 69, are expected to remain for several days to make an inventory of the property and its contents, which are being moved for "security reasons" to a safe location. The house will be cleared before being sold by the CAB.

The six-bedroom mansion, adjoining gate lodge and island belonged to an international drug dealer, Jan Hendrik Ijpelaar (53), from the Netherlands.

He was convicted in 1992 in the Netherlands of being the leader of an organised crime gang. He was also convicted on charges related to possession and distribution of heroin, ecstasy and hashish. He was sentenced to six years' imprisonment and served four.

On July 28th the CAB sought a High Court order under section two of the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize the property. On Tuesday, the court appointed Mr Barry Galvin, the CAB's legal officer, as receiver of the 20-acre property with power to sell it on the open market.

The Dutch owner bought the property in 1991 for pounds 300,000 and the head of the CAB, Chief Supt Felix McKenna, told Mr Justice Finnegan in the High Court that the trafficker had gone to great lengths to conceal the purchase.

It was allegedly bought with the aid of a fake mortgage taken out through a British Virgin Islands company, which has since been struck off the companies register.

In court, Chief Supt McKenna said the property, with a gate lodge, tennis courts and swimming pool, had been abandoned for several years but had been kept under surveillance by CAB officers.

He said Ijpelaar had been a leader of organised crime in the Netherlands, importing, exporting and distributing Ectacy and cannabis.

He had no other legitimate source of income. Mr Justice Finnegan appointed Mr Galvin Receiver over the property with power to take possession of and sell it.

He also granted the bureau an injunction restraining Ijpelaar from disposing of the property before September 8th or from diminishing the value of the property, fixtures, fittings, furnishings or contents.

Copies of the summonses seeking possession of the property were served on Ijpelaar, who is not thought to have spent much time in the house. Local gardai believe he last visited it in 1997 or possibly 1998 after his release from jail in the Netherlands.

It is believed he spent seven months there in 1992, prior to his arrest when he returned to the Netherlands on a family visit.

It is understood the property may be divided into three lots for sale, possibly at the end of September. The Workers' Party welcomed the seizure and called for the proceeds to be invested into communities worst affected by drugs.

The party's justice spokesman, Mr Sean O'Cionnaith said the funds were raised "through the suffering of our communities which have lost hundreds of young people".
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager