Sunday 21 January 2018

Extradition of fugitive solicitor Lynn proceeds after Brazil court ruling

Michael Lynn faces 33 charges at the High Court relating to an alleged €80m mortgage fraud
Michael Lynn faces 33 charges at the High Court relating to an alleged €80m mortgage fraud

Matt Sandy

The saga of fugitive solicitor Michael Lynn is one step closer to conclusion, as Brazil's Supreme Court confirmed his extradition could proceed.

The court first ruled the former solicitor should be extradited in December 2014. But a series of delaying tactics by Lynn's lawyers drew out the legal process.

The decision comes nine years after he first fled from justice and three years since he was arrested in his beach hideout near the city of Recife.

Last night, the judges rejected for a second time an attempt by Lynn's lawyers to "request clarification" of the original ruling. This time, Lynn's lawyers argued that the fact a lawyer had left his legal team during proceedings meant his defence was harmed. But all five Supreme Court justices rejected that, saying he had other lawyers also working on the case.

In a previous request for clarification in February, Lynn's lawyers focused on a supposed translation error of the Irish government's arrest warrant for Lynn.

Now, if there are no more delays, Brazil's Justice Ministry will inform the Irish authorities that Lynn will be extradited and the logistics will be negotiated via the county's Federal Police.

Lynn faces 33 charges at the High Court relating to an alleged €80m mortgage fraud, although some will be dropped as part of the extradition deal.

The more serious charges, of theft, were crucial to his extradition and will remain.

Lynn first failed to attend a hearing at the High Court in Dublin in 2007. At the time he fled, he had debts of €80m and his company was said to have 148 properties, 154 bank accounts and assets worth more than €50m. He arrived in Brazil in 2012 and lived in a villa near a beach while teaching English, joining a country club and dabbling in the property market.

Brazilian federal police, arrested him at a shopping centre near his home in August 2013.

While there is no extradition treaty between the two countries, a bilateral agreement was struck meaning Lynn can be extradited, even though he and his wife Bríd Murphy have permanent residency after she had a child born in Brazil. She has stayed in Recife and later gave birth to their second child.

Irish Independent

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