Law Society rejects "self-justification" of ex-solicitor

 

THE DIRECTOR general of the Law Society has rejected the “self-justification” of former solicitor Michael Lynn published in an interview in the Mail on Sunday, of which excerpts were also broadcast on RTÉ yesterday.

Ken Murphy said that the behaviour of Mr Lynn, who was struck off the Roll of Solicitors over a year ago, was “shameful and disgraceful”, and pointed out that the society was still paying compensation from its compensation fund to clients who had lost money because of his activities.

Mr Lynn fled abroad at the end of 2007 and a warrant was issued for his arrest in December that year after he failed to appear in court. There are 130 sets of legal proceedings against him from banks and other financial institutions, and from many of his clients, and his debts have been estimated at €80 million.

The Law Society has handed its files on him to gardaí, who wish to question him in connection with allegations of fraud. However, so far they have been unable to locate him, and no charges have been laid. Because no charges have been issued, he cannot be arrested in another country and extradited.

In the interview, which did not disclose Mr Lynn’s present whereabouts, the disgraced former solicitor and property developer said he was willing to return to Ireland and “face up to my responsibilities”.

But he said he was travelling around Europe attempting to secure the investments of those who had put money into his business, as far as was possible, and this was his first priority.

He rejected the allegation that, by taking out multiple mortgages on the same properties, he had committed fraud.

“It’s true I had extensive borrowings. That’s absolutely true,” he said in the interview. “But it’s also true that the acts I engaged in and the misguided deeds – on the basis of advice from various professionals and the acceptance of certain parties – was probably misguided. But was it fraudulent? I do not believe so.”

He insisted that the banks “couldn’t get enough of me. When they were considering the merits of giving me a loan for an asset at home they would know about my development abroad. That’s their decision. They were their choices and it was all of our choices to borrow the money.

“I can’t return until I have the investors absolutely secured,” he said. He also indicated he was willing to go to prison for “one month, two months, three months”, though he added that he did not see why he should.

“I wouldn’t see any reason why I would have to go to prison and the one thing I want to make clear is that I am not going to be a scapegoat for others,” he said.

“I am not going to be used as an example of what was recognised as an acceptable form and practice of business by bankers, lawyers, accountants and auctioneers. I am not going to be the poster boy who ends up in prison to my cost alone.”