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Michael Lynn accused of stealing more than €21 million during boom years

The former solicitor and property investor Michael Lynn (55) has gone on trial charged with stealing more than €21 million from seven financial institutions during the property boom.

Mr Lynn, with an address in Arklow, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to the charges which relate to the years 2006 and 2007 and the alleged deception by him of the financial institutions while securing loans for amounts ranging between €215,000 and €4.1 million.

Opening the case, which is expected to last eight weeks, John Berry, for the prosecution, told the fifteen-member jury panel that one feature of the case was that Mr Lynn had accepted that he received the money.

Mr Berry said the case alleged against Mr Lynn was that he had secured the loans from the financial institutions telling each that the money was to be used to buy particular properties and that the lenders would have a first legal charge against the properties, but this did not prove to be the case.


He said one example concerned Glenlion, in Howth, Co Dublin, against which Mr Lynn secured a mortgage for €4.1 million in April 2007, from the Irish Nationwide Building Society, then days later €3.78 million from ACC Bank, and then days later again, €3.85 million from Bank of Scotland Ireland. At the time the guide price for Glenlion was €5.5 million, Mr Berry said.

Another example involved mortgages to buy 6 Bolton Court, which at the time had a valuation of €390,000 but against which Mr Lynn secured loans totalling €1.2 million.

Counsel told the jury they should leave any prejudices they had against solicitors or banks outside the courtroom.

Jury members might think that banks “got off very lightly” for what happened during 2006 and 2007 and had not been “over-burdened by humility or gratitude” since being bailed out, but such factors had to be left outside the courtroom.

There were 21 counts in the case each one of which represented a particular loan. Theft in Ireland is defined as taking something without the consent of the owner, and “consent that is obtained through deception is not consent”.

At the heart of the allegations against Mr Lynn were solicitor’s undertakings, where a solicitor gave an undertaking that money being released by a financial institution would be used for the purpose for which it was given out, Mr Berry said.

It would be the prosecution’s case that Mr Lynn did what he did because he “was a solicitor and a property investor who knew how the system worked”.

The seven financial institutions that gave the loans at the heart of the case are: Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank, trading as National Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

The jury were told by Judge Martin Nolan that they should not discuss the case with others and should not conduct their own research on electronic devices. It is expected the first witness will give evidence on Thursday morning.