Michael Lynn lawyers seek hospital tests for TB

Ex-solicitor in Brazilian jail pending decision on extradition to Ireland

Michael Lynn following his arrest in Brazil. Mr Lynn is in jail in Brazil pending a decision on his extradition. His lawyers claim that he may have tuberculosis and have requested that he be transferred to hospital. Photograph: Federal Police of Brazil

Michael Lynn following his arrest in Brazil. Mr Lynn is in jail in Brazil pending a decision on his extradition. His lawyers claim that he may have tuberculosis and have requested that he be transferred to hospital. Photograph: Federal Police of Brazil

Thu, May 1, 2014, 13:40

Lawyers for the former solicitor Michael Lynn, who is in jail in Brazil pending a decision on his extradition, claim that he may have tuberculosis and have requested that he be transferred to hospital.

The Irishman has been in prison in Recife, in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, since last August. He is awaiting a decision from the Brazilian authorities on extradition proceedings lodged by the Irish government.

Documents lodged with the Brazilian Supreme Court state that Mr Lynn is suffering from “chronic intermittent asthma”, and that a private physician believes his to be a possible case of pulmonary tuberculosis.

The defence team have requested that Lynn be taken to the Royal Portuguese Hospital in Recife for urgent tests and treatment. They argue that the conditions for treatment within the Cotel remand prison outside Recife, where Lynn has spent the last nine months, are inadequate. They also claim the director of Cotel has refused to allow a transfer to hospital without written consent from the Supreme Court.

Mr Lynn’s lawyers say that, unless he undergoes laboratory testing and treatment, his condition could worsen due to an “environment with poor air circulation”. They added in papers submitted to Supreme Court judge Marco Aurélio, who is presiding over the extradition case, that if Mr Lynn is not removed from prison, he could pose a risk of contagion to other prisoners at Cotel.

In a document dated April 24th, Judge Aurélio requested an urgent report on Mr Lynn’s condition from the prison director.

A senior prison source said this week that medical staff at the hospital were not concerned about Lynn’s health, and do not consider his condition to be life threatening. “We have doctors here,” he said. “It’s nothing serious.”

Acknowledging that Mr Lynn had requested a transfer to hospital, the supervisor said that if medical staff at the prison thought Mr Lynn required hospital treatment, he would be accompanied there by prison staff, and would remain in their custody. “But, he’s not that sick,” he concluded, having conferred with medical staff.

Mr Lynn has been in Brazilian state custody since August last year, when he was arrested while walking through a shopping arcade in a small suburban area where he lived and worked as an English teacher. As with most prisons in Brazil, Cotel remand centre is over-crowded and Mr Lynn is housed on a separate pavilion within the prison, which is reserved for white-collar prisoners.

Mr Lynn, who is originally from Crossmolina, Co Mayo, fled Ireland in October 2007 with debts of €80 million. By the time his company unravelled he had amassed 148 properties, 154 bank accounts and assets worth more than €50 million. Mr Lynn is believed to be facing 33 charges prepared by the Director of Public Prosecutions related to the collapse of his property business.

Last February, the ex-solicitor’s bail application was rejected by the Brazilian Supreme Court. His defence team had claimed that the extradition documents lodged by Irish government officials were lacking, and that his arrest warrant was not valid under Brazilian law.