Monday 24 April 2017

Lynn wife: We met in Bulgaria at weekend

Brid Murphy leaving court in Dublin court yesterday
Brid Murphy leaving court in Dublin court yesterday

Dearbhail McDonald and Tim Healy

THE wife of rogue solicitor Michael Lynn revealed yesterday that she spent last weekend with him in Bulgaria before he left for Portugal.

Brid Murphy disclosed how she left the eastern European country on Monday, and her husband left the next day.

The on-the-run lawyer, who is missing with fraudulent mortgage debts of €80m and is being investigated by the garda fraud squad, collected his wife from an airport in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

Ms Murphy's revelation came as she gave evidence in the High Court yesterday.

She claims she is entitled to half the proceeds of their dream home, Glenlion House in Howth, Co Dublin, which was sold for €4.7m in January as part of attempts by banks to recover her husband's debts.

She claims she was tricked into signing a mortgage deal with ACC Bank by her husband as she recovered from a breast cancer scare. The former nurse denies any liability for a multi-million loan given by ACC bank towards the purchase of their home. They bought Glenlion House for €5.5m.

She revealed that she was in regular contact with Lynn, who was struck off the solicitors' roll last week and fined an unprecedented €2m.

Ms Murphy, who said that there were "bits and pieces" of her everywhere, and that she had been forced to live with family and friends since the scandal broke, revealed that her husband organised the purchase of Glenlion as she underwent the cancer tests.

At the same time, her father, also suffering from cancer, was undergoing acute chemotherapy after two major operations on his bowel and liver.

Ms Murphy was focused on her health and that of her father when Michael Lynn asked her to attend his Blanchardstown offices in April of last year to meet an Irish Life official to organise life insurance -- a prerequisite before they bought their dream home.

But Ms Murphy says she did not know that Gerry Kelly was in fact an ACC employee and not an Irish life official as she had been told by her husband.

At the meeting, Ms Murphy said that after answering several medical questions from Mr Kelly, she filled in her answers on forms and signed them at his request.

It was only last autumn that she discovered, after meeting her solicitor, that Mr Kelly was from ACC Bank, said Ms Murphy.

Tears

Fighting back tears throughout her testimony, Ms Murphy was adamant that her marriage was intact and said she trusted her husband "completely" in relation to financial affairs, including dealings for the purchase of Glenlion.

Yesterday, she gave evidence in proceedings aimed at establishing entitlement to the €4.7m proceeds of the sale of Glenlion House last January. It is the subject of alleged multiple mortgages by Mr Lynn.

High Court judge Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan has been asked to first determine Ms Murphy's claim that she is entitled to a 50pc interest in the house.

Ms Murphy and several banks have made claims over the proceeds of sale of Glenlion which was bought by Mr Lynn and Ms Murphy for €5.5m in spring 2007.

Ms Murphy denies she has any liability for multi-million loans given by ACC Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) for the Glenlion purchase as she says she was unaware of such loans until last autumn, when the scandal about her husband's dealings first emerged.

She has accepted, however, an indebtedness to Bank of Scotland.

Ms Murphy told the court that she married her husband in April 2006, having gone out with him since 2004.

She had worked as a nurse, earning some €46,000 a year, but gave up work in early 2006 to devote herself to her marriage.

During a medical examination in February 2007 for life assurance connected with the Glenlion purchase, a lump was discovered in her breast and she had to undergo a biopsy and tests which ultimately produced good results.

Ms Murphy became upset at stages during her evidence and at one point during cross-examination told counsel for ACC: "I am not used to this environment."

Ms Murphy said she had no involvement with her husband's solicitor or property business and had never been involved in any property transaction prior to Glenlion.

Ms Murphy is claiming that several signatures purporting to be hers on a number of documents related to securing finance for that purchase from ACC Bank were forged.

She also claims she believed at the time that the only loan on the house was one with Bank of Scotland Ireland and says she did sign a loan offer document from BOSI related to Glenlion.

The ups and downs of life with Lynn

- 'Since all this has happened, I haven't been living in St Albans. I have been living with friends and family, bits and pieces of me are everywhere.' -- Brid Murphy explains how disrupted her life has been since the scandal broke last year.

- 'It was just family life, I knew he wouldn't be home in the evenings.' -- Explaining why a note, 'Michael Lynn audit' was recorded in her personal diary.

- 'He [Michael] just x'd for me to sign where my signature had to go. My husband was a solicitor, he had his own practice ... I trusted my husband.' -- On why how she never questioned her husband, who was also her solicitor, when he asked her to sign documents.

- 'I'm not used to this environment.' -- Brid Murphy apologises for her reaction in the witness box after counsel for ACC Bank complained that 'nodding her head' in apparent confusion would not be recorded into the official court record of the High Court proceedings.

- 'We both thought it looked really nice.' -- Michael Lynn's wife explains how she and her husband decided to buy Glenlion House in Howth for €5.5m after spotting a newspaper advertisement while en route to Slovakia and Armenia on a business trip.

- 'Yes' -- Brid Murphy's answer to James Dwyer when asked if she knew where Michael Lynn was. She went on to explain that she met her husband in Sofia, Bulgaria, last weekend and that he travelled to Portugal last Tuesday.

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