Michael Lynn trial hears how bank's approval limits changed during Celtic Tiger

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Michael Lynn Trial Hears How Bank's Approval Limits Changed During Celtic Tiger Michael Lynn Trial Hears How Bank's Approval Limits Changed During Celtic Tiger
Former solicitor Michael Lynn (53) is on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions. Photo: Collins Courts
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Brion Hoban

A former bank official has told a multi-million euro theft trial that she could not remember how frequently the bank's loan value approval limits would change during the Celtic Tiger.

Former solicitor Michael Lynn (53) is on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions.

Mr Lynn, of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.

It is the prosecution 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 Mortgages Bank Ltd, Danske Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank PLC, Bank of Scotland Ireland Ltd, and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS).

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Giving evidence on Monday, Deirdre Byrne told the court she was an assistant manager in the commercial division of Permanent TSB when Mr Lynn made a loan application to the bank in 2005.

The court heard that this loan is not the subject of any of the charges before the court in this trial.

'Property boom'

Ms Byrne told Feargal Kavanagh SC, defending, that her primary responsibility at that time was assessing commercial loans. She agreed that there were limits to the value of loans she could sanction and if these limits were exceeded the loan had to go to somebody above her in the bank.

Mr Kavanagh asked that when business was expanding exponentially at this time of “property boom” and the Celtic Tiger, was more and more responsibility being pushed down the line with bigger limits being fixed.

Ms Byrne replied that she could not remember how frequently limits would have changed, but she could recall her limit increasing once or twice during that time.

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Mr Kavanagh asked whether the procedures in place at the time were such that an underwriter did not look behind the loans to see the background or history of the applicant and simply received the application from the branch.

Ms Byrne said she would look to see a payment history as she was primarily assessing the capacity of the borrower to repay the loan. She agreed that when loans are being repaid and repayments met, that is all an underwriter has to consider.

She said that while she was still with the bank in 2007 at the time of Mr Lynn making another loan application, she did not recall having any further involvement with Mr Lynn.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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