Friday 26 April 2019

Solicitor in probe over bogus loans, passports

Law Society investigates €1m deal

LIAM COLLINS

A solicitor is now under investigation by the Law Society, the Financial Regulator and possibly the Fraud Squad, amid allegations of forged passports and falsification of bank loans.

The latest case involves over €1m in property transactions. The Financial Regulator has already raided offices of a mortgage broker who is believed to have been involved with the solicitor, in providing false information to get the money drawn down, according to information supplied to the Law Society.

The society was called in last week after a series of detailed complaints from a loan company, following the draw-down by the solicitor of a series of loans totalling over €1m using false information.

The solicitor at the centre of the controversy was caught out in the sudden collapse of the property market.

This latest case -- coming after the Michael Lynn and Thomas Byrne affairs which have run into hundreds of millions -- is unwelcome news for the Law Society of Ireland, which has refused to comment.

But it is believed that the society has launched an investigation and, as the allegations involve forged documents, including passports, a criminal investigation is also a serious possibility.

"We wrote to the Law Society a few weeks ago, when we didn't get our loans registered -- we had five loans with this solicitor, totalling over €1m," said Ron Weisz of Secured Property Loans Ltd, which has made the complaint. "It is not a problem for us, we have substantial financial assets."

Among the allegations which his company has made to the solicitors' regulator is that passport, financial records and bank statements were forged in order to draw down loans to buy property. But the financial interest of the lender was never registered, and the solicitor involved was also the buyer of some of the property, using another name.

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