Sunday 18 March 2018

Fugitive former solicitor Michael Lynn to arrive back in Ireland today

Michael Lynn is escorted in through Recife’s international airport yesterday
Michael Lynn is escorted in through Recife’s international airport yesterday

Matt Sandy in Recife, Brazil

Fugitive former solicitor Michael Lynn will arrive back in Ireland today, more than 10 years after he fled the country.

Mr Lynn (50) boarded a flight out of Brazil last night and is scheduled to arrive in Dublin Airport at lunchtime today along with four gardaí.

It marks the end of a saga that began when he did not attend a High Court hearing on €80m fraud charges in 2007.

He was arrested in Brazil in 2013 and fought extradition back to Ireland to the last.

But yesterday, with his legal options exhausted, he was taken from the Cotel prison he has called home for nearly five years to the international airport in Recife and was all set to be put on a night Condor flight to Frankfurt.

Mr Lynn, wearing a patterned blue T-shirt and faded jeans, arrived at the airport in the back of a black shaded Federal Police 4x4 in the afternoon.

Handcuffed, he looked tired and did not answer questions as he was led to his cell.

From Frankfurt, he was scheduled to be put on a connecting flight to Dublin, arriving today at noon.

Brazil's Supreme Court ruled Mr Lynn should be extradited in 2014. But a series of delaying tactics by his lawyers drew out the legal process, even as he remained in a dirty jail cell he said was making him ill.

Three times, his lawyers sought "clarification" of the original ruling, once brought a point of order, and then sought an internal grievance against the decision. Judge Marco Aurélio called the repeated delaying tactics "an abandonment of the organic nature of law".

"He did not give us any difficulties," Luciana Martorelli, the head of immigration for Brazil's Federal Police in Recife, said yesterday.

"The process was long but in the end it was not frustrating as we got him," she said, smiling.

It is likely the end of the line in Brazil too for his wife Bríd Murphy, who stayed by his side and now has four children.

After years of legal wrangling, even the hours before the extradition were fraught with doubt about whether it would proceed.

The night before, Brazil's Ministry of Justice said it still had not received all the necessary undertakings from the Irish Government to allow the extradition, without saying what was missing.

Only last week, Mr Lynn's lawyers were in court in Dublin to try and strike down an undertaking already given to the Brazilian authorities that the time he already spent in prison would be discounted from his eventual sentence. Brazil would not extradite without that commitment.

At the time he fled to Brazil, Mr Lynn was facing 33 charges in the High Court relating to an alleged €80m mortgage fraud.

Some of the charges will be dropped as part of the extradition deal with Brazil.

Irish Independent

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