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Alan Shatter slates banks at book launch
Author Michael O'Farrell (L) and Alan Shatter

25 Apr 2024 / people Print

Ex-minister Alan Shatter slates banks at book launch

Former Minister for Justice and Law Reform Alan Shatter has strongly criticised the banks for providing “repetitive loans on individual properties” to convicted ex-solicitor Michael Lynn.

During the Celtic Tiger, Lynn had been getting repetitive loans on individual properties from bankers, some of whom Shatter thinks “have gotten away with murder”.

“I don’t blame them for what Lynn did, but their level of stupidity in providing the loans to him without adequately checking what he was up to was unbelievable,” he said.

In February, Lynn was found guilty of stealing just over €18 million from six financial institutions during the Celtic Tiger era and jailed for five and a half years. Judge Martin Nolan set a sentence of 13 years and gave Lynn seven-and-a-half years’ credit for the time he spent in prison in Brazil.

'The hunter after the hunted'

Shatter (pictured) was speaking on 19 April at the launch of Fugitive: The Michael Lynn Story by investigative journalist Michael O’Farrell, who was tasked 17 years ago by The Irish Mail on Sunday to find Lynn.

“This is the story of the hunter after the hunted. The book gets to the heart of Lynn’s character, his early days and the manner in which he acquired assets…,” said Shatter.

"When Lynn disappeared off to Brazil, I was the opposition spokesperson on justice. I was outraged that someone who was a disgrace to the legal profession … was sitting in Brazil thinking he had impunity.”

Tackling the extradition

When Shatter became Minister for Justice and Law Reform in 2011 he set about getting Lynn back to Ireland, despite the lack of an extradition treaty with Brazil.

“We had some brilliant people in An Garda Síochána who were intent on pursuing him. Now-retired detective inspector Paddy Linehan was crucial in ensuring Lynn was caught and brought back to Ireland,” he noted at the book launch.

“Fortuitously, there was a provision in the Extradition Act 1965, which meant Ireland could enter into international arrangements to extradite an individual from another country where there were criminal charges brought against them.

“So we got to the point where we had such an arrangement with Brazil [Lynn was arrested in 2013]. Little did I know it would take another five years to bring Lynn back. I couldn’t say anything about the case then as a former Minister for Justice because it could have prejudiced the outcome.”

As Shatter noted, the Lynn saga is not over as he is appealing his sentence and, also, has not been prosecuted in respect of the estimated total €13 million he took from individuals.

“I believe the Criminal Assets Bureau will have a continuing role arising out of Lynn’s crimes,” said the former Minister for Justice.

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