A Brazilian supreme court judge is expected to rule this Tuesday on the Irish Government’s request to extradite fugitive solicitor Michael Lynn back to Ireland.
Mr Lynn has been fighting extradition from Brazil since his arrest in the northeastern city of Recife in August of last year. His request for bail denied, he was held in a prison in the city while his case made its way through Brazil’s federal courts.
As defendants traditionally do not attend the supreme court in Brazil he will not be present at the hearing, which is listed for Tuesday. Documents provided to the Brazilian authorities show that the Director of Public Prosecutions intends to bring 33 separate charges against Mr Lynn, who insists he is innocent.
Mr Lynn, who is originally from Crossmolina, Co Mayo, fled Ireland in October 2007 with debts of €80 million. By the time his company unravelled, he had amassed 148 properties, 154 bank accounts and assets worth more than €50 million.
The supreme court judge assigned to the case, Marco Aurélio, will deliver his ruling on the Irish Government’s request to four other judges on a panel in Brasília. If none requests further information on the case, the five-member panel will then vote on whether to endorse Judge Aurélio’s decision. But if any of the four other justices ask to review the case, a vote could be postponed until March.
If the panel does vote to extradite, Mr Lynn’s defence team can delay the decision being carried out by demanding clarification on the ruling, though this would be unlikely to prevent his eventual return to Ireland.
Mr Lynn and his wife Bríd Murphy secured permanent residence status through the birth of their son in Brazil, which does not have an extradition treaty with Ireland.
At the time of his arrest, he had been teaching English in Recife and was seeking to invest in the city’s booming property market. Following his detention his wife remained in Recife and subsequently gave birth to their second child.
Mr Lynn had sought to be released from jail, claiming he had contracted tuberculosis as a result of his jailing. But authorities at the Cotel prison said doctors were satisfied with his health and his request was denied. He has been held in a separate unit of the jail away from the general population, meaning he has avoided the worst of the overcrowding and violence associated with Brazilian jails.
Mr Lynn’s presence in Brazil added urgency to talks between Ireland and Brazil on an extradition treaty and the two sides agreed they would treat extradition requests from each other on the basis of reciprocity pending the conclusion of a formal treaty.