Wednesday 22 November 2017

Banks knew what I was doing, Byrne tells trial

Conor Gallagher

FORMER solicitor Thomas Byrne has alleged at his €52m theft and fraud trial that some banks knew he was using invalid collateral when they granted him loans.

During cross-examination, Mr Byrne said the financial institutions were either aware or did not care that the properties he used as collateral had already been promised to other banks.

Mr Byrne (47), of Walkinstown Road, Crumlin, is accused of theft and fraud offences totalling €51.8m. The charges allege he transferred clients' homes into his name and then used them as collateral for property loans.

He has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 50 counts of theft, forgery, using forged documents and deception.

Mr Byrne said that every loan he is accused of taking out was for the benefit of his business partner and client John Kelly. The accused said he was acting under duress when he took out the loans.

He said that Mr Kelly forced him to take out loans on his behalf because the banks would not lend him any more money. He also said he had to fund Mr Kelly's lifestyle which included collecting Aston Martin cars.

Mr Byrne questioned why the prosecution did not call certain banks officials and lawyers involved in the loans to give evidence. He said that these people might not exonerate him but would be able to tell the truth about what happened.

The trial continues today.

Irish Independent

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