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New Year's Eve deadline for victims' claims

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Michael Lynn's multi-million euro property empire faces collapse,
while his whereabouts remain unknown

Michael Lynn's multi-million euro property empire faces collapse, while his whereabouts remain unknown

Michael Lynn's multi-million euro property empire faces collapse, while his whereabouts remain unknown

The once-thriving European property empire controlled by rogue solicitor Michael Lynn is in meltdown, with most branches shutting up shop in recent weeks.

And clients who believe they may have been victims of Mr Lynn's business dealings have been warned that their claims may not be met if they sue after a New Year's eve deadline, when the solicitor's insurance cover expires.

Last night, a Budapest-based law firm responsible for winding down Michael Lynn's Hungarian companies said they believed money invested in one 105-apartment development complex there was "completely gone".

Two other developments are due to be completed as planned, despite the company's demise.

Only two offices in Portugal and Bulgaria remain open for trading, and all Mr Lynn's Irish-based operations have ceased trading as a result of investigations by the Law Society and the Garda Fraud Squad.

News of the near-collapse of Mr Lynn's international property development network comes as the Law Society moves to strike the €80m loan lawyer off the solicitor's roll.

The society, which shut down the Mayo-born solicitor's practice last October following revelations about multiple remortgaging of properties, is waiting until New Year's eve to strike Lynn off the register.

On December 31, insurance cover for Lynn's practice expires, which could have significant implications for his former clients and creditors.

When a solicitor is suspended, their insurance cover no longer applies and any victims of fraud must instead recover their money from the €34m solicitor's compensation fund.

Because Mr Lynn's cover expires on December 31, it is unlikely that any claims made against him after that date would be met, the High Court heard yesterday.

Mr Lynn again failed to obey a court order to appear in court yesterday for cross-examination by the society about the property dealings that have contributed to his estimated liabilities of €80m.

He is subject to immediate arrest and detention in custody should he turn up in Ireland.

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The Law Society case against the solicitor and that of several banks, has been adjourned until next January, but the investigations into his fiancial affairs will continue in his absence.

Yesterday, the President of the High Court said the sooner the facts about Mr Lynn's dealings were made public, the better. Mr Justice Richard Johnson added that, to allay public anxiety, matters concerning Mr Lynn should be addressed "as speedily as possible".

Shane Murphy, for the society, said that while the investigation into Mr Lynn's affairs was continuing, the society had no inkling what the next development would be.

An arrest warrant was issued by Mr Justice Johnson for Mr Lynn on Wednesday morning, after the solicitor failed to obey a court order requiring him to attend for cross-examination by the society in relation to six property deals. Orders were served on his home at St Alban's Park in Sandymount and on the offices of a UK firm of solicitors, Merriman White.


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