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Ex-solicitor cancelled several garda interviews, trial hears
Michael Lynn

17 May 2022 / courts Print

Ex-solicitor cancelled garda interviews, trial hears

Former solicitor Michael Lynn moved to Brazil in 2011 without telling gardaí, who had arranged to interview him in Portugal, his multi-million-euro trial has heard.

Lynn (53) agreed on several occasions to be interviewed by gardaí between 2008 and 2011, but the interview was cancelled several times, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today. 

European arrest warrant

In 2009, Lynn sought assurances that no European arrest warrant would be issued until at least four weeks after being interviewed, the court heard.

Lynn, of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, is on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions.

He has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between 23 October 2006 and 20 April 2007.

It is the prosecution’s case that Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.

Lynn has told his trial that the banks were aware he had multiple loans on the same properties, and that this was “custom and practice” among bankers in Celtic Tiger Ireland.

Garda interview delays

On Lynn's seventh day in the witness box today (17 May), Patrick McGrath SC (prosecuting) brought the court through several meetings that were arranged for Mr Lynn to be interviewed by gardaí, between 2008 and 2011.

Lynn agreed to meet gardaí from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation in London in November 2008, but this interview was cancelled because his solicitor was unavailable, the court heard.

Another interview was scheduled for February 2009, with Lynn seeking the assurance in relation to the European Arrest Warrant, the court heard. By this time Lynn was living in Portugal, and the meeting did not take place, the jury was told.

Further interviews were arranged for gardaí to come to Portugal in January, May and June 2011, but these did not occur, the court heard.

Move to Brazil

Lynn moved to Brazil on 13 June 2011, the court heard. At that time, gardaí were preparing to travel to Portugal to interview him at the end of the month.

“Did you tell the guards you were in Brazil in June 2011?” Judge Martin Nolan asked Lynn.

“No, I did not,” Lynn replied.

Another garda interview was scheduled for October 2011, the court heard. Lynn told the court he did not inform gardaí he was living in Brazil: “I was willing to fly back,” he told the court.

“Yet you stayed in Brazil and resisted extradition for four years,” Patrick McGrath replied.

Forged signatures

Earlier, Patrick McGrath SC brought Lynn through statements of affairs, which the court heard were submitted to financial institutions as part of his loan applications. 

Lynn agreed that the statements contained forged signatures of his accountants Kinsella Mitchell and Associates, and a forged company stamp. Going through the documents, Mr Lynn said his own signature was forged on one, while another contained his real signature.

He told the court he didn't know who forged the stamps or signatures. He rejected the evidence of his former legal executive, Liz Doyle, who told the trial that Lynn asked her to forge the accountant's signature on similar documents.

“The idea I would come to Liz with a statement of affairs in my hand and say: 'You sign John Kinsella's name there' – that is outlandish, it never happened, it's not true,” Lynn said.

€13m in debt not declared

In one statement of affairs before the court, which the court heard was submitted to Irish Nationwide in April 2007 to purchase the €5.5-million Howth property, Glenlion, Lynn agreed that there was €13 million in debt not declared on the document. 

Patrick McGrath asked him if it was “pure coincidence” that the document didn't include any of the loans with the other institutions. 

Lynn said he did not prepare the statement of affairs, and it was “tardiness and oversight” on the part of whoever did. He agreed that one of his Kendar employees or consultants must have prepared the document, but he said he didn't know who.

‘Ticking a box’

“I'm not responsible for the preparation of the statement of affairs,” he said. “Ultimately, I'm responsible for the borrowings. But I'm abroad at this stage. That's the honest answer.”

Lynn told the court it was important to note that, by the time this statement of affairs was submitted, the loan-offer letter had already been sent out. He said the statement of affairs was about “ticking a box”.

“That's how it was during the Celtic Tiger,” he said. “I'm not saying it's right, but there's no intention in any shape or form to mislead Irish Nationwide, because they were happy to give the loan.”

‘Convoluted explanations’

Mr McGrath said that Lynn was coming up with “these extraordinary, convoluted explanations” for all these matters, “always designed to put the blame on someone else”. Lynn disagreed.

McGrath also questioned Lynn in relation to the server from his property company, Kendar.

Lynn has told the trial that there were emails on the server that would prove he was involved in secret deals with senior Irish bankers in relation to his loans.

McGrath put it to Lynn that when his practice was raided by the Law Society in 2007, all the exhibits that were seized were then sent on to gardaí.

Kendar server not with gardaí

Lynn said that both the law-practice server and the Kendar server “should have been together”. 

Mr McGrath told the court the gardaí did not have the Kendar server.

“I suggest to you that, just like the emails, just like the secret deals, this is all another example of you making all of this up in an attempt to confuse what is very, very straightforward,” Patrick McGrath said.

“Absolutely not, I reject that completely,” Lynn replied. 

The trial continues.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland