Thursday 27 June 2019

Michael Lynn refused bail after being charged with theft of almost €30m

Michael Lynn being escorted through Recife’s international airport
Michael Lynn being escorted through Recife’s international airport
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former solicitor and millionaire property developer Michael Lynn has appeared in court on 21 charges relating to the alleged theft of almost €30m.

The father-of-four appeared at a special sitting of Dublin District Court this evening, where he was refused bail by Judge Gerard Jones.

The hearing took place after Mr Lynn (49) returning to Ireland from Brazil, where he had been for several years.

Wearing a wine jumper, open necked shirt and dark trousers, Mr Lynn arrived at the short shortly after 4pm flanked by two detectives.

During the two-and-a-half hour hearing that followed Mr Lynn denied he had been a fugitive from Ireland and told the judge: “The day of Ronnie Biggs is over.”

The court heard that Mr Lynn arrived into Dublin Airport around 1.20pm.

He was arrested there by Inspector Pat Lenihan and brought to Ballymun Garda Station where the 21 charges were put to him.

The court was told Mr Lynn made no response to the charges.

The charges relate to sums allegedly stolen from seven financial institutions in 2006 and 2007.

According to one sample charge, Mr Lynn stole €1.3m from Danske Bank, trading as National Irish Bank, on March 16, 2007, contrary to Section 4 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001.

Mr Lynn applied for bail, but this was objected to by gardaí due to the seriousness of the charges and their belief that he was a flight risk.

Insp Lenihan said gardaí had tried on a number of occasions to meet Mr Lynn while he was abroad, but these efforts had been frustrated him him.

The court heard the then President of the High Court had directed in December 2007 that Mr Lynn make himself available to testify in a civil matter but he had not done so.

However, Mr Lynn told the court that he had made it clear at all times he was willing to meet gardaí.

He claimed the meetings with gardaí did not happen on one occasion because his lawyer was unavailable and on a second occasion due to a misunderstanding.

Mr Lynn also said he received legal advice not to testify in the civil matter to protect his right to silence due to the possibility of criminal charges arising.

He told the judge he needed to face up to the charges, had no intention of leaving the jurisdiction, and was prepared to abide by whatever conditions were laid down by the court.

However, after considering the issue, Judge Jones refused bail and remanded Mr Lynn in custody.

The judge said he was satisfied that Mr Lynn had no outstanding bench warrants and was entitled to the presumption of innocence, but also said he considered him to be a flight risk and therefore could not grant bail.

Mr Lynn was served with the book of evidence and will appear at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on March 23.

Mayo-born Lynn is thought to have last been in Ireland in December 2007 and previously had addresses in Howth and Sandymount in Dublin.

He had been living in Recife, northern Brazil with his wife, Clare-born nurse Bríd Murphy, and working as a language teacher.

Originally from Crossmolina, he came to prominence in the mid-noughties as a major player in the foreign property market that attracted thousands of Irish investors.

He studied in Trinity College and became a solicitor in 1994, when he began practising with a Dublin firm.

However, he soon set up his own practice, Michael Lynn & Co in Blanchardstown.

The firm later move to premises on Capel Street, close to the Four Courts, and provided services in litigation and property conveyancing.

In 2003 he formed a company called Kendar Holdings to invest in the property market.

Initially it focused on the market in Ireland and Britain, but it later branched out into property further afield in places such as Portugal and Bulgaria.

The company often used sports stars to market its projects, but many of these failed.

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