Michael Lynn had 'ample opportunity' to give gardaí information, trial told

Michael Lynn Had 'Ample Opportunity' To Give Gardaí Information, Trial Told
Michael Lynn (55), of Millbrook Court, Redcross, Co Wicklow is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions. Photo: Collins
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Isabel Hayes and Eimear Dodd

Former solicitor Michael Lynn had “ample opportunity” to give gardaí any information that would help disprove the allegations against him, the lead investigator has told his multi-million euro theft trial.

Gardaí arranged to interview Mr Lynn in Portugal in 2011, but the interview never took place after they learned he had moved to Brazil, retired Garda Inspector Patrick Linehan told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Friday.


Mr Lynn (55), of Millbrook Court, Redcross, Co Wicklow is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions. He has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.

It is the prosecution’s case that Mr Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties, in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.

The financial institutions involved are Bank of Ireland, National Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland Ireland, and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS).

Ret Insp Patrick Linehan told the jury that he was in charge of the investigation from the start.



He told the court that Mr Lynn’s solicitor, Robert Eager, contacted gardaí in early 2008 and indicated his client’s willingness to meet them. It was initially agreed that gardaí would interview Mr Lynn in London in November 2008; however, this meeting could not go ahead.

There was further correspondence between Mr Lynn’s solicitors and gardaí, which led to another date being agreed for an interview - this time in Portugal in June 2011. Gardai made an application to the Portuguese authorities for assistance in relation to this, the court heard.

This interview was subsequently cancelled as Mr Lynn wished his Irish, English and Portuguese solicitors to be present, but not all were available on the agreed date, the court heard.

Ret Insp Linehan said the interview in Portugal was rearranged for October 2011. However, he said they were formally advised that Mr Lynn would not be attending shortly beforehand, and they subsequently became aware that Mr Lynn was in Brazil.


When asked by Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending, when gardaí decided not to interview Mr Lynn, Ret Insp Linehan said it became apparent to gardaí in October 2011 that “we didn't believe Michael Lynn was going to attend for interview”.

He told the court that gardaí were planning to meet Mr Lynn in Portugal, but “it subsequently transpired he had left the jurisdiction and was in Brazil.”

“We weren't aware he left and moved to Brazil,” he said, adding it was “quite a strange move” given they had arranged to meet for interview. “The clear thing is he had every opportunity to tell his story to us,” he said.

“...He had ample opportunity to give us any evidence that would help us disprove the allegations.”


'No common sense'

Defence counsel put it to Ret Insp Linehan that gardaí refused to provide Mr Lynn's solicitor with a list of questions. Ret Insp Linehan replied that in a criminal investigation, there would be “no common sense” in doing so.

“It's like telling someone we're going to search your house and getting a warrant in two weeks' time,” he said. “They clear the house.”

Ret Insp Linehan agreed gardaí were monitoring Mr Lynn's movements via Interpol and were aware he entered and left Brazil eight times between 2007 and 2011.

Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe put it to Ret Insp Linehan that gardaí were given assurances that Mr Lynn could be extradited from Brazil “at any time”.


Ret Insp Linehan said Ireland had no extradition treaty with Brazil at the time, and that gardaí raised their concerns with Brazilian authorities. “It's no guarantee, there was no treaty,” he said, adding: “It might be a reason why someone might move there.”

Ret Insp Linehan told Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe that he could not recall the name of the garda who carried out a technical examination of servers taken by the Law Society. He said he had no concerns about the chain of evidence before gardaí seized the devices.

He agreed with defence counsel that some of the witnesses for the seven banks had indicated there may be other documents beyond what was provided to gardaí. He said gardaí served court orders and expected the banks would “in good faith” supply the requested information, but gardaí can’t do a “trawling exercise”.

He agreed that gardaí did not receive a direction from the Director of Public Prosecutions to charge Mr Lynn while he was in Portugal. He told the court that most fraud investigations take a long time.

Garda questioning

Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe asked if the investigation found evidence of a practice between Mr Lynn and banks of undertaking-only loans. He replied: “Absolutely not”.

He was brought through a list of bank officials that gardaí did not question, including former bank officials Michael Fingleton and Sean Fitzpatrick. He agreed gardaí did not question either of these men.

Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe asked about the garda’s investigations into Kendar and if a “fundamental” part of the investigation was to “follow the money”.

“It's not necessary to follow the money. It would be ideal, but it’s not a fundamental requirement if we can prove money was taken,” the witness replied.

Re-examining Ret Insp Linehan, Karl Finnegan SC, said the garda investigation “has been impugned by Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe, who says gardaí could have gone searching for information which would have exonerated Mr Lynn”. Ret Insp Linehan said that Mr Lynn could have contacted them at any stage, but that never happened.

The jury was told that prior to the first trial, Mr Lynn's legal team applied for disclosure of Kendar material, but Judge Martin Nolan deemed the Kendar investigation to be irrelevant to the matters before this court.

The court heard that the Kendar investigation related to complaints from “several disappointed people in relation to property transactions”. The jury was told inquiries were made, and the case was closed, from an Irish point of view.

The prosecution case is now closed. The trial resumes on Monday before Judge Nolan and the jury.

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