Former solicitor who stole €18m from banks jailed for 5.5 years

By Isabel Hayes

by Gazette Reporter
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Former solicitor Michael Lynn, who was found guilty of stealing just over €18 million from six financial institutions during the Celtic Tiger era, has been jailed for five and a half years.

Sentencing Lynn on Monday Judge Martin Nolan set a sentence of 13 years and gave Lynn seven-and-a-half years credit for the time he spent in prison in Brazil.

Judge Nolan accepted that the time Lynn spent in prison in Brazil was “onerous” but he noted: “To some degree he could have resolved his difficulties by agreeing to come home.”

Lynn and his wife Brid Murphy, who was in court for the sentence, made no visible reaction when the sentence was handed down.

Lynn (55) was found guilty by a jury of 10 of the 21 counts against him following a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial last year. The jury was unable to agree on the remaining 11 counts before the court. It was the second trial in the case after the jury in his first trial, which ran for 16 weeks in 2022, was unable to agree on any verdicts.

Lynn, of Millbrook Court, Redcross, Co Wicklow had pleaded not (NOT) guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23, 2006 and April 20, 2007, when he was working as a solicitor and property developer. He has no previous convictions and has been in custody since he was convicted of the 10 counts just before Christmas.

The court heard Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance. These properties included ‘Glenlion’, Lynn’s €5.5 million home in Howth, and multiple investment properties.

The financial institutions Lynn was found guilty of stealing from were National Irish Bank, Irish Life and Permanent, Ulster Bank, ACC Bank, Bank of Scotland Ireland and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

Lynn took the stand and told his trial that the banks were aware he had multiple loans on the same properties and that this was custom and practice among bankers in Celtic Tiger Ireland.

He was extradited from Brazil in 2018 after spending four and a half years in a “hellhole” prison there. In the first trial, Lynn told the jury the jail was essentially run by prisoners and he witnessed the beheading of a young gay prisoner.

As part of the extradition agreement with Brazil, Lynn esd to be given credit for the prison time he has already served.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the single count relating to Bank of Ireland alleging Lynn stole €2.7 million from that bank.

It was also unable to reach verdicts on 10 counts relation to Irish Nationwide, from which Lynn was accused of stealing €7.4 million. He was convicted on a single count of stealing €508,000 from that institution.

In relation to Irish Nationwide, Lynn claimed he signed a “memo of understanding” with bank chief Michael Fingleton in a Dublin hotel in 2006. He said the agreement involved Irish Nationwide providing funding for Lynn’s apartment development in Portugal, with Mr Fingleton set to benefit personally from this arrangement.

Mr Fingleton was not well enough to give evidence at trial, the jury was told.

The remaining charges against Lynn were dropped on Monday.

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