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Michael Lynn ‘lying’ about meetings, ex-banker tells trial
Ex-solicitor Michael Lynn with his wife Brid Murphy, leaving Criminal Courts of Justice on Friday 13 May Pic: RollingNews.ie

25 May 2022 / courts Print

Lynn ‘lying’ about meetings, ex-banker tells trial

A former senior Irish Nationwide banker has said that Michael Lynn was “lying” when he said he met and spoke with him, the multi-million-euro trial has heard.

Former home-loans manager at the building society Brian Fitzgibbon also told the court that he did not believe Lynn was friendly with former Irish Nationwide Chief Executive Michael Fingleton.

Fitzgibbon, described as a “senior officer” in the building society, gave evidence at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial of the former solicitor yesterday (24 May).

Never met or spoke to Lynn

He told prosecuting counsel Patrick McGrath SC that he never met or spoke to Lynn “in any capacity”.

Lynn previously told the trial he met with Fitzgibbon, whom he described as Fingleton's “right-hand man”, several times and that they had a good relationship.

The court heard that, because of matters that arose in the trial, Fitzgibbon gave a statement to gardaí this week.

Lynn’s claims ‘a lie’

Under cross-examination from Paul Comiskey-O'Keeffe BL, defending, Fitzgibbon told the trial that Lynn's claims that he spoke to him were “a lie”.

He said he had never met Lynn, nor had he ever received any emails from Lynn.

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. 

‘Secret deals’

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

Lynn has named several witnesses whom he said were involved in these secret deals, and the prosecution has called several rebuttal witnesses.

Fitzgibbon said it was his belief that the only Irish Nationwide banker who was in contact with Lynn was Dun Laoghaire branch manager Mark Mulcahy, who has given evidence at the trial.

He said Irish Nationwide was an asset-backed lender that always registered the first legal charge on a property.

Fitzgibbon told the court that in his professional experience, not one financial institution “would ever, ever grant money on just an undertaking without an asset”.

Fingleton’s ‘special powers’

Fitzgibbon agreed with defence counsel that Fingleton had “special powers” within the institution to amend the terms and conditions of loans.

“It's my belief, going back 14 years ... he could amend and set the terms and conditions in respect of the facility,” Fitzgibbon said.

He added that, in his experience, Fingleton “may have changed the conditions and terms and the interest rate, but he never lent without it being asset-backed”.

No secret profit arrangement

The senior counsel put it to Fitzgibbon that the court was dealing with a secret profit arrangement between Lynn and Fingleton in relation to a property development in Portugal.

“No,” Fitzgibbon replied.

The witness said he couldn't answer questions on such an alleged deal, as that would be hearsay. Judge Nolan intervened, saying Fitzgibbon “doesn't know anything about it”.

Fitzgibbon told the trial he did not believe Lynn was friendly with Fingleton.

“Mr Fingleton never mentioned him,” he said.

In relation to whether there was a more informal process around bigger loans, he said: “If one was on friendly terms with Fingleton, there may have been some leeway.”

Giving evidence on the loan that Lynn took out from Irish Nationwide for Glenlion, the €5.5 million Howth property, Fitzgibbon said he “wasn't comfortable with it”, that it was above his discretionary limit, and he sent it to Fingleton for approval.


Defence counsel said the court had heard that Fingleton attempted to deny he approved this loan.

“He tried to scapegoat you in relation to it?” the barrister asked Fitzgibbon.

“Correct,” Mr Fitzgibbon replied.

Two more bankers gave evidence at the trial yesterday, and told the court that they did not meet Lynn or had no recollection of meeting him.

Micheál McHugh, a former regional credit manager of National Irish Bank, said he never met with Lynn in person or spoke to him on the telephone.

He said it was not in his remit to meet customers, and he felt it was best practice to keep a distance from them.

When defence counsel put it to McHugh that Lynn had told the court he was known as Micheál as opposed to Michael, McHugh replied that he is Micheál on his LinkedIn profile and “anyone can see that”.

Never a member of the credit committee

Gerry O'Gorman of Bank of Ireland told the court he had no recollection of meeting Lynn. He said whatever dealings he may have had with Lynn was in his capacity as an assistant to the senior business manager. 

O'Gorman said he was never a member of the credit committee, as described by Lynn. 

“To be blunt, I have never been anywhere near that level in the bank,” O'Gorman told the court. 

Detective Sergeant Ger Coomey of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau was the last witness to give evidence.

He brought the court through a list of bank workers who were mentioned by Lynn as being aware of his claimed secret profit deal with Fingleton, or the secret deals that Lynn could use the loan monies for his overseas property developments.

Not fit to attend

The court heard that Fingleton is not fit to attend court, while former Anglo Irish Bank chief Sean FitzPatrick is deceased.

Four bankers declined to give a statement to gardaí – one citing personal family circumstances, and two others saying they had little to offer or couldn't offer anything material in relation to the case.

A fourth banker did not wish to make a statement back in 2007, and still does not wish to do so, Det Sgt Coomey said.

Under questioning from defence counsel, the court heard that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not issued subpoenas for these witnesses. Judge Nolan told the jury that the DPP “hardly ever summons a witness if they don't have a statement from them”.

The trial resumes tomorrow, with closing speeches expected to begin.

Isabel Hayes
Isabel Hayes
Isabel Hayes is a court reporter with CCC Nuacht Teoranta