Michael Lynn to fight extradition from Brazil

Case involving fugitive solicitor involves ‘unknown legal territory’

Michael Lynn (far right) at the school where he was teaching in Brazil.

Michael Lynn (far right) at the school where he was teaching in Brazil.

Mon, Sep 2, 2013, 06:28

Fugitive solicitor Michael Lynn, who fled Ireland with debts of €80 million, is expected to mount a strenuous legal challenge to his extradition home to face criminal charges.

Government and legal sources said because no extradition procedures had been in place between Brazil and Ireland until those recently framed specifically aimed at extraditing Mr Lynn, the case represents “completely unknown legal territory”, and the process could last for years.

“The Brazilians have been reluctant in the past to extradite people who have children who were born in Brazil,” said one government source familiar with the case.

Mr Lynn has a three-year-old Brazilian-born son with his wife Brid, who is currently seven months’ pregnant. The couple secured permanent residency through their son last year.

Foreign soil
A senior Garda source familiar with extraditions said: “When a new extradition arrangement is put in place you simply can’t tell how the court on foreign soil will view it and how they’ll rule on the first few cases.”

Mr Lynn will appear before the High Court in Brazil but it is unclear when that will happen. The Irish Times understands that while living in Hungary and Portugal in the years after leaving Ireland in 2007, he was trying to rescue failed property deals there and was in contact with gardaí investigating his alleged fraudulent dealings back home.

He had agreed to meet gardaí abroad to be questioned by them but reneged on those agreements and without warning he went to Brazil. However, after a bilateral extradition agreement was put in place in recent months, the Irish authorities sent an extradition request to the Brazilians, who arrested Mr Lynn last week.

He is now being held in a prison in Cotel on the outskirts of Recife. The prison has a capacity of 700 but regularly holds more than 2,500, with up to 20 prisoners sleeping in large communal cells. Visitors could be seen queuing for up to eight hours to enter on visiting day yesterday.

So poor are the conditions in the jail that many were carrying clothes, food and bedding for the prisoners they were going to visit. Gang culture and extreme violence is also rife across the Brazilian prison system.

Working as a teacher
Mr Lynn has been living in a beach resort in Recife in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. He has been working as a teacher for students aged 15 years and old. His wages were €635 per month for 13 hours’ teaching time.

“He was the most humble tutor we’ve ever had; he was charming, empathetic and learnt to become an excellent teacher for us,” said Mark Astle, the director of the Britanic Piedade school where the Irishman was teaching.

The first he had heard of Mr Lynn’s arrest was last Thursday when Mr Lynn’s wife Brid called. “She just said he wouldn’t be coming in that afternoon because he had been arrested,” he said. “I feel very sorry for him. I like him and his wife a lot. We would sometimes have drinks after work. He was so charming; everyone who met him liked him . . . He was comfortably the brightest teacher I have had here in my 12 years running this school.