Compensation fund paid out €4.7m to Lynn’s clients
Delay in State action against former solicitor ‘incomprehensible’, Law Society says
Michael Lynn being arrested in Brazil.
More than €4.7 million has so far been paid to clients of Lynn from the Law Society compensation fund. While €2.1 million of that has been recovered from funds in the 44-year-old’s client accounts, the balance of the payments have been made from the compensation fund, to which all registered solicitors must contribute.
Additional costs to the society, including those involved in winding down Mr Lynn’s firm and in negotiating some of the claims made, are in the “hundreds of thousands”, Ken Murphy, director general of the organisation, has said.
Mr Lynn was struck off the solicitors’ role in May 2008 after an investigation by the society uncovered serious irregularities in his accounts.
Originally from Crossmolina, Co Mayo, Mr Lynn has been living in Brazil in the state of Pernambuco for the past few years. He was granted permanent residency there in 2012 and was arrested last Friday as part of a bid by the Irish State to have him extradited to face charges related to his business dealings in Ireland.
He fled the country in December 2007 after being summoned to court to answer questions related to his financial dealings in a civil action being taken by the society.
It had sought an injunction to freeze his firm’s bank accounts and take control of 4,000 client files in October that year. Its investigation of Mr Lynn had been triggered by concerns raised by another solicitor in September 2007.
Mr Murphy said the society was delighted to see there was a prospect Mr Lynn would be forced to return to Ireland to face his many victims. He was satisfied the organisation had acted swiftly once concerns were raised about Mr Lynn, but he criticised “the delay” by authorities in pursuing him. All matters were placed promptly in the hands of the fraud squad but it was years before the files went to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Murphy said. “It is incomprehensible it could have taken four or five years.”
He also said Lynn was in Europe at earlier stages when a European arrest warrant could have been used against him and it would have been easier to return him to Ireland. Ireland has no extradition agreement with Brazil.
Apart from the compensation paid out from the Law Society fund, the other cost associated with Mr Lynn was the reputational damage done to the solicitors’ profession, Mr Murphy added, though “the overwhelming majority of his activity was as a property speculator and developer in Ireland and abroad rather than as a solicitor”.