Collapse of European operations mired in controversy
Published 02/10/2012 | 05:00
EASTERN Europe was once the cornerstone of Michael Lynn's property empire.
But in the five years since his Kendar group began to crumble, the disgraced solicitor has been embroiled in controversy across the region.
In Hungary, Mr Lynn's local Kendar company is now bankrupt and most of his planned Budapest developments remain unfinished and mired in problems.
One development, a planned 105 apartment complex in Klauzal Street, has sparked two separate lawsuits -- one from Budapest's Cultural Heritage Protection Agency over Kendar's failure to complete promised renovations, and one from would-be apartment buyers.
Payments from buyers went straight to Mr Lynn's private bank accounts and not to Kendar.
Neither case has been resolved.
The other Budapest projects, in Eotvos Street and Sziv Street, seem to have been wrested from Mr Lynn; while how much money Mr Lynn got from the new owners remains a mystery.
But most of the original investors lost out completely, with only a few able to strike deals with the new owners.
Bulgaria was the other mainstay of Mr Lynn's eastern European venture and Kendar Bulgaria was about to build around 700 apartments at the Bansko ski resort when Mr Lynn's troubles struck.
Since then, ownership of the Bulgarian developments has moved from Kendar Bulgaria to companies in Cyprus, the Seychelles and Panama.
The Bansko ski resort was never started and another project at Varna also failed to materialise. A smaller development in Boyana was completed in 2009.
While Mr Lynn was once a frequent visitor to the area, his former associates say he has not been seen there in years. He has remained in the headlines though, after reports linked him to a €2.5m payment to a Chechen mafia boss.
Slovakia was Mr Lynn's third front in eastern Europe, and he'd planned more than 900 apartments around the High Tatras and Low Tatras ski resorts. But nothing has been heard of those developments since Mr Lynn absconded.