Michael Lynn theft trial opens before jury

Former solicitor facing charges relating to alleged theft of €27m from lenders

The trial of former solicitor Michael Lynn, accused of multimillion euro thefts, has opened before a jury.

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

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

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

An extended jury panel of 15 jurors is required for the trial, which is expected to last up to 14 weeks and hear from more than 70 witnesses.

Opening the trial before the jury on Wednesday, Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, said the prosecution alleges Mr Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties.

Mr McGrath told the jury they will hear of a method repeatedly adopted by Mr Lynn where he misled institutions, resulting in him stealing the money.

Counsel said this was where Mr Lynn applied for mortgages to at least two, and in many cases a number of, different financial institutions which then lent him the money unaware of the other mortgage applications. He said documents were provided in these applications that were untruthful.

He said that is “the broad brush of the scheme” which the prosecution says Mr Lynn was operating and of “the web of deceit” which underlined the applications. He said that it is obtaining that money that the prosecution says is the theft.

Pretext

Mr McGrath said Mr Lynn sought mortgages under the pretext he was seeking individual finance for the purchase of property in a situation where financial institutions were unaware that other institutions were providing finance for the buying of these properties.

Counsel told the jury they will hear evidence from these financial institutions that Mr Lynn was known previously to them, had built up business relationships with them and had previously redeemed mortgages in full.

Mr McGrath told the jury they will hear how Mr Lynn applied for finance for the purchase of a family home in Co Dublin from three institutions and received over €11 million in total.

He said they will hear how Mr Lynn applied for multiple mortgages in relation to investment properties and they will see the same properties coming up again and again.

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

Mr McGrath told the jury they will hear about letters of undertaking, which are statements provided by solicitors that they will register the interest of the bank on a mortgage. He said this was important because it enables institutions to check the land registry to see if there is another mortgage on a property.

Counsel told the jury they will hear that letters of undertaking provided during applications which were purportedly signed by a solicitor and partner at Mr Lynn’s law firm were in fact forgeries signed by an employee of Mr Lynn. He said that the interests of the institutions were not registered.

Mr McGrath told the jury that when they hear all of the evidence in the case, they will be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Lynn is guilty of all of the charges.

The trial continues on Thursday before the jury and Judge Martin Nolan.