Michael Lynn applied for €1.4m loan for four investment properties

Court hears from branch manager of National Irish Bank in trial of former solicitor

A jury has heard that former solicitor Michael Lynn applied for a €1.388 million loan with National Irish Bank in 2007 to finance four investment properties in Dublin city.

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

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, Redcross, 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.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Noel McCole told John Berry BL, prosecuting, that he was a business banking manager for National Irish Bank, later Danske Bank Ireland, from 2000 to 2010.

Mr McCole said he had previously become acquainted with Mr Lynn through his work as a branch manager in Blanchardstown.

He said that on December 21st, 2006, he was contacted by Mr Lynn’s assistant by email seeking information about the bank’s products and criteria. This was followed by a request for finance on behalf of Mr Lynn to purchase four apartments in Dublin.

The properties were described as “residential tenancies” and had a total purchase price of €1.672 million. The loan was sought on the basis that the apartments would be “investment properties”.

A letter was subsequently received on February 6th, 2007, detailing the four apartments and their addresses and stated that Mr Lynn required 85 per cent finance if possible.

Mr McCole said a colleague raised a credit application on the bank’s internal system and confirmed that document on a screen shown to the court and jury. It outlined that the finance requested was for €1,338,160 as a variable-rate business loan, representing 80 per cent of the total purchase price.

Accounts

Mr McCole agreed with Mr Berry that the bank needed to see “such things” as accounts before the loan could be approved.

He further agreed that the credit application outlined that the purpose of the loan was to provide “quality rental accommodation” and included a personal background on Mr Lynn.

Mr McCole agreed that the bank was told that as of December 2006 a statement of affairs concluded that Mr Lynn’s net worth was €9 million.

He said a number of conditions were attached to the loan, such as a requirement for the properties to be insured, that the properties had a minimum value of €1.672 million and that there would be evidence of the “own funds” to be provided making up the 20 per cent shortfall between the loan amount and the purchase price.

Mr McCole told counsel that the bank wanted to know Mr Lynn’s financial position not only at the time of the request for finance but also, if the loan was successful, on an annual basis.

He agreed that a number of searches were carried out on both Mr Lynn’s company and himself personally in addition to “a credit bureau search”, and nothing of concern was found.

Mr McCole will continue his direct evidence on Thursday before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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