Former solicitor Michael Lynn has told his multi-million-euro trial he “did not steal a penny” and there was no scheme designed to defraud the banks.
Lynn (53) of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, is on trial 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.
On his eighth day in the witness box at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, he was under cross-examination by prosecuting counsel Paddy McGrath SC.
The senior counsel put it to Lynn that he was an experienced solicitor who had built up a property empire. Lynn agreed he was an experienced solicitor who became involved in the property market, but said he objected to the term ‘empire’, which he said he found obnoxious.
He said the allegation that he had stolen €27 million from the banks was incorrect, saying: “I did not steal a penny from the banks”.
Mr McGrath put it to him that he exploited a system of undertakings with the banks by getting Liz Doyle, a legal executive who worked for Lynn at the time, to fraudulently sign these undertakings in the name of Fiona McAleenan, a solicitor with the firm, or getting McAleenan to sign them without an awareness of all the details in the undertakings.
“Liz Doyle was your eyes and ears – you got her to forge the statements of undertakings to deliberately misrepresent your assets,” counsel said.
Lynn said this was incorrect. Counsel put it to him that there were no secret deals between him and the banks, as asserted by Mr Lynn in his evidence to the jury.
Long history of lending
Lynn disagreed and said there was a long history of lending with the banks in question. He said the assertion by counsel that the loans were for definite purposes, and that he misused the monies for other purposes, was completely incorrect.
He said the banks were “well aware” of what he intended to do, and did, with the loans.
Mr McGrath put it to him that the only reason he didn't defraud Anglo Irish Bank was because they had a different system of undertakings for loans, stating: “They were lucky not to be defrauded.”
“No, that is not a fair representation. This was not, in any way, a scheme designed to defraud – it was simply about getting business done,” he said.
Mr McGrath put it to the witness that, for 15 years, “you did everything in your power to avoid facing your responsibility” for his actions.
“You never had any desire to tell this pack of lies or face up to your responsibility,” counsel said.
Lynn said that was incorrect, and that he had served five years in prison in Brazil, and was fighting these charges because he was adamant that the banks knew what was happening, and he had not stolen from them.
“I'm a lot of things but I'm not a thief,” he said.
Judge Martin Nolan told the jury that Lynn was not under any legal obligation to stay in Ireland when he left to go to the UK, Portugal or Brazil, and that he broke no law in travelling there.
The trial continues.