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Solicitor ‘had no knowledge’ of bank transfers
Pic: RollingNews.ie

05 Dec 2023 / courts Print

Solicitor ‘had no knowledge’ of bank transfers

A former solicitor from Michael Lynn's practice has denied that she was aware of his bank borrowings, saying she had nothing to do with money in the practice.

Mr Lynn (55), of Millbrook Court, Redcross, 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 (pictured) obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties, in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.

The trial resumed yesterday (4 December) after a break of four days last week, with a former solicitor from his practice, Fiona McAleenan, returning to the stand for a fourth day.

‘I was never a partner’

Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending Lynn, showed the court a memo sent to staff at Michael Lynn & Co, in October 2006, announcing that McAleenan had been appointed partner of the practice.

“As I said before, I believed I was going to become a partner in the practice,” McAleenan said. “I can't put it any further than that, and I've said so on numerous occasions.”

Defence counsel put it to McAleenan that that had been her position “since you sought to compel your insurance to provide indemnity cover”.

“It's been my position since I left the practice and before that,” she replied. “I was never a partner.”

McAleenan added that she had “made mistakes, but I was not a partner in the practice”.

‘No involvement’ in transfers

When asked about an exchange of text messages from Liz Doyle, the office manager, requesting that McAleenan carry out bank transfers, McAleenan denied that she was involved in any bank transfers.

“I was not familiar with transfers, I was not aware of the lending,” she said.

Comiskey O'Keeffe put it to McAleenan: “Your position is that Liz Doyle and Michael Lynn are in a league together, committing a fraud upon you, keeping you in the dark about this.”

“I had no involvement in any of the monies, any of these transfers,” McAleenan replied.

“I put it to you that you were aware of Michael Lynn's borrowings from the bank; you were aware from the drawdown of monies coming in and the transfers of monies out to the benefit of Kendar, where these monies were being used,” Comiskey O'Keeffe said.

“No, that's not correct,” McAleenan replied. “I was involved in giving undertakings. I had no knowledge of amounts, monies, transfers or any other aspect.”

Discussions ‘quite advanced’

Under re-examination from prosecution counsel Karl Finnegan SC, McAleenan agreed that the High Court found that she was not a partner in Michael Lynn & Co and had never been a partner.

She agreed that the High Court judge thought that it was “careless” that she had held herself out as partner in some of the documents. McAleenan agreed that she had expected to become partner, and said that the discussions had been “quite advanced”.

The court heard that when the Law Society investigated the practice, Lynn was struck off the Roll of Solicitors. McAleenan was never sanctioned, nor were any disciplinary proceedings brought against her, the court heard.

McAleenan's evidence finished yesterday, with Judge Nolan thanking her for her attendance.

“Hopefully we won't see you again,” he quipped.

The trial continues before Judge Nolan and the jury.

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