Thursday 23 November 2017

Struck-off solicitor to be tried on charges of stealing €52m

Thomas Byrne at Dublin District Court yesterday
Thomas Byrne at Dublin District Court yesterday
The former offices of Thomas Byrne in Walkinstown, Dublin

Tom Tuite

STRUCK-OFF solicitor Thomas Byrne is to stand trial accused of stealing approximately €52m in connection with mortgages taken out on more than 20 properties.

In December, the ex-lawyer had been charged by fraud squad detectives with dishonestly appropriating the sum of €1,887,415 entrusted to him for the purpose of discharging a loan with Permanent TSB.

He was also accused of stealing €198,742 that had been given to him for the purpose of paying stamp duty in the purchase of an apartment building at Upper Dorset Street, in Dublin 1.

On December 9 last, he had been remanded on bail and he appeared again at Dublin District Court yesterday.

Dressed in a light grey and pink pin-striped suit, yellow shirt and a green chequered tie, the former solicitor remained silent as Judge John O'Neill heard that 50 additional charges under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act had been brought against him.

Mr Byrne (45), of Walkinstown Road, Dublin 12, but who also has an address at Aungier Street in Dublin 2, has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charges.

He now faces 14 counts of making false instruments including deeds of transfer and assignments of properties; eight counts of using false instruments; nine charges of deception; and 21 theft charges in connection with mortgages taken out on more than 20 private residences across Dublin.

In the theft charges, it is alleged he stole sums totalling approximately €52m from National Irish Bank; IIB; Irish Nationwide Building Society; EBS; Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland, from 2004 until September 2007.

Det Sergeant Paschal Walsh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, told Judge O'Neill that the extra charges were put to Mr Byrne yesterday before court started.


"In reply to each charge, he made no comment," Det Sgt Walsh added.

Solicitor Catherine Irvine, for the State, told the judge that "the DPP has directed trial on indictment in relation to all the charges". She also said that the book of evidence in the case would be completed in four weeks.

Judge O'Neill acceded to a request from defence counsel Sean O Siothchain for legal aid to be granted on new charges brought against Mr Byrne. The judge also agreed to extend bail terms.

The judge remanded Mr Byrne, who stood up during the brief hearing, on bail to appear again in four weeks when he is to be served with a book of evidence.

In December, Mr Byrne, who previously had a solicitor's practice in Walkinstown, Dublin, was told as a condition of bail to surrender his passport and not to apply for a new one.

Irish Independent

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