Accountant questions documents in Michael Lynn trial

Documents purported to be signed by firm were not his firm’s documents, court told

An accountant has told the multimillion euro theft trial of former solicitor Michael Lynn that documents purported to be signed by his firm were not his firm's documents.

Mr Lynn (53) is facing 21 charges relating to the alleged theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions, the trial has heard. He denies all charges against him.

The financial institutions involved are Bank of Ireland Mortgages Bank Ltd, Danske Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank PLC, Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd, and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Mr Lynn of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.

It is the prosecution case that Mr Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.

It is alleged Mr Lynn provided statement of affairs documentation which purported to be from an accountancy firm, but were not and also did not set out a full picture of his financial situation.

Giving evidence on Monday, John Kinsella told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, that he is a partner at Kinsella Mitchell & Associates, a firm whose main services are preparing accounts, taxes and auditing.

Mr Kinsella said his partner at the firm was a personal friend of Mr Lynn who grew up with him in Co Mayo, and that they were reacquainted in 2003. He said this firm became independent auditors for a company owned by Mr Lynn and became reporting accountants for his legal practise.

Documents

Prosecuting counsel produced a document that is said to be a statement of affairs of Michael Lynn, which appeared to be signed in April 2007 by Kinsella Mitchell & Associates and bearing the firm’s stamp. Mr Kinsella said the stamp and signature on the document were not those of the firm.

Mr Kinsella told the court that this was not his firm’s document. He said that there were other details in the document which showed it was not his document and that the last statement of affairs prepared for Mr Lynn was in July 2006.

Counsel produced another document that is said to be a statement of affairs for Mr Lynn as of November 2006, with a stamp on it that purports to be a stamp of Kinsella Mitchell & Associates. Mr Kinsella said that was not a document produced by his firm.

Mr Kinsella went on to say that the signature was not theirs and again stated that the last statement of affairs prepared was in July 2006.

Earlier in the day, Will Nelson told Mr McGrath that he was formerly the fraud officer for ACC Bank, a role he began in November 2010.

Family home

Mr Nelson said that documents before the court showed that Mr Lynn and his wife Bríd Murphy made a mortgage application to ACC Bank in late 2006 for the purchase of a house known as Glenlion House in Howth, Co Dublin, with the intention that this be used as their family home.

The witness said that this application was for 70 per cent of the purchase price of the property, amounting to €3,780,000.

He said this application was ultimately approved and the money was drawn down by Mr Lynn in April 2007. He said that all repayments of this loan were met monthly by direct debit until October 2007.

The trial has previously heard evidence that Mr Lynn obtained mortgages from both Irish Nationwide Building Society and Bank of Scotland Ireland in April 2007 for the purchase of Glenlion House.

Mr Nelson told Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending, that ACC Bank no longer exists as a bank, but still exists as a legal entity as a loan management company. He said that the institution did not employ a fraud officer until he was hired in 2010.

He agreed that documents before the court showed that a relationship manager dealing with the loan application had stated the Lynn family were good “repayers” and that Mr Lynn was “a high net worth individual”. He agreed Mr Lynn had a pre-exiting relationship with ACC prior to this application.

Mr Nelson agreed with counsel that a “credit committee” made up of three individuals working for the bank were ultimately responsible for approving the loan in question and that none of these people had made statements to gardaí.

The trial continues on Tuesday before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.