We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Lynn spun ‘web of deceit’, jury told
Ex-solicitor Michael Lynn with his wife Brid Murphy, leaving Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday 13 May Pic: RollingNews.ie

27 May 2022 / courts Print

Lynn spun ‘web of deceit’, jury told

Former solicitor Michael Lynn has spun a “web of deceit”, created confusion, and told the jury a “fabricated pack of lies” during his multi-million-euro trial, the jury has been told.

Three-and-a-half months after the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial opened in February, closing speeches started yesterday (26 May).

In the prosecution’s closing speech to the jury, Patrick McGrath SC said that Lynn had exploited a weakness in the mortgage-application process, whereby the banks trusted solicitors, and believed that a solicitor could be relied upon to ensure their security was put in place.

He told the jury that Lynn’s credibility was a key part of the case.

‘A charade’

McGrath told the jury that he was “surprised” – and that perhaps they were surprised – that, in the last two weeks, they were all “in the middle of a charade”.

He added that if the jury believed that what Lynn was saying was reasonably true, then Lynn was entitled to an acquittal.

“I'm going to seek to persuade you that what he has told you here is a fabricated pack of lies,” McGrath said.

Plea of not guilty

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.

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.

The financial institutions involved are: Bank of Ireland; National Irish Bank (later known as Danske Bank); Irish Life and Permanent; Ulster Bank; ACC Bank; Bank of Scotland Ireland; and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Multiple loans and ‘secret deals’

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

He said that he had “secret deals” with a number of bankers, who gave him permission to use the loan money for his property developments abroad.

Lynn told the court that he and former Irish Nationwide chief executive Michael Fingleton were involved in a secret profit-share agreement in relation to a property development in Portugal.

McGrath put it to the jury that the “insinuation” by the defence that Lynn was disadvantaged in the trial was a “fiction”.

He told the jury that trial judge Martin Nolan had been managing the case for years, and had heard a number of applications for adjournments, and in relation to disclosures.

‘Master of confusion’

“Contrary to what would appear to be suggested at certain points, Mr Lynn hasn't suddenly landed in this trial,” McGrath said. This was all part of Lynn's attempts to create confusion, counsel stated, adding that Lynn was a “master” in doing that.

McGrath told the jury that “for years and years and years” Lynn never made anyone aware of the alleged secret deals, and secret profit deals, with senior bankers.

Counsel said Lynn avoided being interviewed, “fled to Brazil, and resisted extradition tooth and nail”.

Diverting blame

The jury was told that Lynn tried to divert blame onto the courts, the prosecution, Michael Fingleton, the late Sean FitzPatrick, the Brazilian authorities, the Irish authorities, “the world and his wife”.

“None of these people are to blame,” McGrath said. “The person who is to blame, and the person who refused to take ownership of the fact he stole this money in 2007, is the man sitting in the dock, and no-one else.”

Counsel said that, despite the defence “moaning” about disclosures, it was accepted that everything that the prosecution had in relation to this case was disclosed, and that no effort was ever made by Lynn to compel witnesses to come to court.

‘Not Catch Me If You Can’

“This is not Catch Me If You Can,” McGrath said. “This is not cat-and-mouse.”

Lynn had put forward his defence, and he had an obligation to engage with it, but he had not done so because “it is a mirage”, the jury was told.

Counsel told the jury that Lynn was “not a simple man at sea” or a “small bit player”. He was “clearly a very clever man”, who was involved in property development on a substantial scale.

In relation to how the offences could have happened, McGrath put it to the jury that they had heard that Lynn was unable to get finance in certain countries where he wanted to build developments and “make a fortune”.

“So he siphons the money off,” he said. “He gets multiple mortgages on properties, unknown to anyone else.”

Lynn exploited and manipulated what could retrospectively be seen as a weakness in the system in order to get the money, Mr McGrath said.

‘Naive system’

He misused this “naive system”, whereby the banks trusted solicitors and believed that a solicitor would be “an honest player”, and could be relied upon to ensure their security was put in place, the jury was told.

“If all his ducks lined up in a row and everything came to fruition, at some stage he might pay off all this, but that does not excuse what he has done,” McGrath said. “It's still theft.”

Lynn ‘actively involved’

Counsel said that forged statements of affairs were given to the banks as part of Lynn's loan applications, and that Lynn “deliberately and calculatedly misrepresented the value of his assets” to his advantage.

“They are deceitful and not composed by some unknown acolyte,” McGrath said. “He was actively involved in their preparation.”

The forged statements of affairs were “part-and-parcel of the web of deceit he was spinning,” counsel added.

The prosecution’s closing speech continues, with the defence expected to make its closing speech afterwards.

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