Lynn’s lawyers to seek bail as part of extradition battle

Fugitive solicitor ‘fine’ but prison conditions ’very bad’

Michael Lynn’s Brazilian ID card.

Michael Lynn’s Brazilian ID card.

Wed, Sep 4, 2013, 10:44

Lawyers acting for the solicitor Michael Lynn plan to make an application this week to have him released on bail while a Brazilian court considers whether to extradite him to Ireland.

Paolo César Maia Porto, one of four Brazilian lawyers preparing Mr Lynn’s defence, said his conditions in prison were “very bad” and there was no reason to keep him there. Brazilian law allows the authorities to detain him for up to 90 days while his case is being considered.

In an interview with The Irish Times, Dr César said the application for bail would be lodged as early as tomorrow, but the decision on whether to release him would probably take two to three weeks.

“He was living here with his family. He is not a dangerous man. He was in a normal situation, and he was honestly working . . . He was not hiding,” the lawyer said. “I will try to have him released as soon as possible.”

Dr César confirmed his client would vigorously contest Ireland’s request for extradition and said he was confident Mr Lynn would not be sent home.

Documents provided to the Brazilian authorities reveal the State intends to bring 33 separate charges against Mr Lynn, who fled Ireland in 2007 with debts of €80 million, but he insists he is innocent.


‘Not theft’
“It’s not theft. They’re loans he took and could not pay back. He assured me that he didn’t do anything illegal,” the lawyer said.

“He did everything right, but he didn’t pay his debts because there was a crisis. If there had not been a crisis, he would have paid his debts.”

The Lynn family have been living in the northeastern state of Pernambuco for about two years, and the couple secured permanent residence after the birth of their son here two years ago. Dr César said that would be a significant plank of his case against extradition.

Ireland and Brazil do not have an extradition treaty, but a bilateral agreement has recently been put in place between the two states and the Irish authorities have acted under its terms to request Mr Lynn’s extradition.

Dr César said the level of detail provided with the request was minimal, but he was consulting with British-based lawyers also acting for Mr Lynn.

“It’s a difficult case because the interests of a foreign country are at play . . . They [the Irish authorities] are asking for extradition, promising that in the future, if a Brazilian citizen is in the same situation in Ireland, they will treat it in the same way.

“We have had previous cases decided for and against, and we are studying all of them.”

Mr Lynn’s legal team met him yesterday for the fourth time since he was arrested at a shopping centre near him home in a suburb of Recife last Thursday.

Dr César said his client was “fine” but conditions were “very bad” at Cotel, the prison where he is being held on the outskirts of Recife.

“His wife is anxious because she is six months pregnant, so she is concerned at not having her husband with her,” he added.

Cotel was originally built to serve as a remand prison for the Recife metropolitan area, but the system is overstretched and Cotel held 3,150 as of last Friday – a multiple of its capacity of 700.


Special unit
Mr Lynn (44) is now being detained in a special unit reserved for university graduates and ex-police officers – a standard feature of Brazilian prisons – after his wife obtained a copy of his degree for the authorities.

“He is concerned, but he is calm. He knows the prison conditions are bad, but they are bad for everyone,” said Dr Cesar.

A date for My Lynn’s hearing has not yet been set. Under Brazilian law, all extradition hearings must take place in closed session.

Mr Lynn fled Ireland in 2007 and travelled to Portugal and Hungary before moving to Brazil. The family rent a house in Candeias, a seaside suburb, and Mr Lynn has been earning €640 a month as an English-language tutor in the city.