Lynn keeps Blaming everyone and anyone. One cannot Say more, for Legal reasons, but we can say Mayo Michael, former Wedding Singer, Claimed the Brazilian Jail was a Hellhole, Bonking and Nookie, every Week visits from his wife, kept his Sanity?

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The Irish ex-lawyer, the bankers and a hellhole Brazilian jail

Michael Lynn gave evidence last week after ‘waiting a long time’ to tell his story 

Former solicitor Michael Lynn and his wife, Brid,
                  at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Collins

Former solicitor Michael Lynn and his wife, Brid, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. Photo: Collins Courts

May 15 2022 02:30 AM

It was Celtic Tiger Ireland and Michael Lynn, then a solicitor in his 30s who was building a property business overseas, vied for position with the banks.

Bank loaned him money, he told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last week, and he entertained senior bankers. He gave them “spending money” or “bonuses” of €5,000 to €10,000. He said he arranged flights and hotels for an AIB employee and his daughter. 

He said he arranged a “profit share” in his development in Portugal for Michael Fingleton, the former Irish Nationwide chief executive, who he said he met more than 30 times.

It was all part of the Celtic Tiger “culture”, Mr Lynn claimed. Bankers “would have assisted in terms of getting loans”, he said, while he and his staff “would have assisted them to fly to the various locations that we were working in”.

“They were provided with free accommodation and also provided with spending money when they were there. There were advantages to them as well, in terms of buying apartments from the company.” They were “comrades in arms”.

“They enabled me to increase my business and they got wealth as a result of it. When I look back, you wonder who was riding on the coattails of who,” he commented later.

Mr Lynn is on trial for allegedly stealing €27m from seven financial institutions between 2006 and 2007 by applying for multiple mortgages on the same properties. The prosecution claims banks were unaware that other financial institutions were also providing finance.

He denies the charges. He claims he had flexible lending arrangements with senior bankers who allowed him to use mortgage loans on properties in Ireland to fund property overseas.

Fifteen years after those events, Mr Lynn, of Redcross, Co Wicklow, spent five days in the witness box in Court 19, having “waited a long time” to tell his story. He frequently leaned in, resting on his elbows, eyes often narrowed in concentration.

He came to court in smart casual sweaters and trousers. His wife, Brid, observed him from the courtroom, sometimes nodding in agreement as her husband gave his testimony.

The court heard how Mr Lynn was refused disability benefit and the couple are receiving supplementary welfare allowance and had support from their family. His defence counsel asked if he had a “goldmine of money somewhere” or a Swiss bank account. He said no.

Mr Lynn told the court about his childhood on a dairy farm in Crossmolina, Co Mayo, the youngest of five children. He went to Trinity College Dublin to study law and set up his own practice in 1997 from the sitting room of a house in Clonsilla, west Dublin, which he said he bought with a loan from his mother.

When Law Society investigators froze his personal and company assets in 2007, he owed €70m.

“Everything stopped,” Mr Lynn said. He intended to repay. He was “greedy and driven” but not a thief.

He was due to appear in the High Court. He claimed “bankers” were concerned about their secret arrangements coming to light. Mr Fingleton felt it would cause “inordinate difficulty”, he claimed. Both Mr Fingleton and Seán FitzPatrick, the chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, “felt that I was toxic”.

“It was indicated to me that I needed basically to take the hit and that I could start again,” he said.

He moved to London, then to Portugal and to Brazil in 2011, the court was told, when gardaí were supposed to interview him. Cross-examined about attempts to interview him at that time, he said: “We never refused to meet with gardaí.”

He fled to Brazil, the prosecution counsel put to him. “I didn’t flee to Brazil,” he said. Pressed, he said: “I was living in Brazil at that time, but I did not flee.”

He was arrested in Brazil in 2013 when the Irish State sought his extradition, the court heard. He spent four years in a Brazilian jail. He described prison as a “war zone” and a “hellhole”, like something out of Game of Thrones. He said he saw a young inmate being decapitated because he was gay.

He had pneumonia 11 times. Conjugal visits were a means of keeping the peace. His wife had two more children during his time in prison, conceived during those visits.

“At any point in this hellhole prison you could have said, ‘I’m going back to Ireland to resolve these matters’,” the prosecution said. Mr Lynn said he initially resisted his extradition because his wife was seven months pregnant, and after that the delays were caused by a “bureaucratic mess” over the translation of a document. Mr Lynn returned to Ireland in February 2018.

He claimed last week that banks did not “tell the truth” about his secret deals with senior bankers, that they did not put forward the correct people to gardaí and that “the right bankers” should have been in court.

The prosecution asked Mr Lynn why there was no mention of his “secret deals” with bankers earlier in the proceedings. Mr Lynn said he had received legal advice “not to reveal my hand”.

At that, Mr Justice Martin Nolan interjected: “The explanation that you offer is basically that you were keeping your powder dry.”

The trial continues tomorrow.

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