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'fluid' Former solicitor tells multi-million euro theft trial he had permission to use mortgage money for property developments

Michael Lynn claims the arrangements were set out in emails which he sent to bankers

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Michael Lynn.

Michael Lynn.

Michael Lynn.

Former solicitor Michael Lynn has told his multi-million euro theft trial that he had permission from bankers to use his mortgage loan money to pay for his property developments abroad.

Mr Lynn (53) told his Dublin Circuit Criminal Court trial that he wasn't allowed do what he wanted with the money but that the banks “would have understood it was to purchase a specific site at a present time and repay it”.

He said this practice was going on as far back as 2003, when he had a similar arrangement with Bank of Ireland.

In his second day in the stand today, Mr Lynn told defence counsel that these arrangements were set out in emails which he sent to bankers. “I had to do that to protect myself also,” he said.

He said he does not have these emails now.

Mr Lynn (53) of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, 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 23, 2006 and April 20, 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.

Under questioning from Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending, Mr Lynn said that he conducted all of his business on a Kendar email address and these emails existed until October 2007 on a server.

He said he requested information from the company liquidator, from the Director of Public Prosecutions and from the banks. He said he only received a redacted response from Irish Permanent.

Earlier, Mr Lynn gave evidence of his history of lending, starting with the first investment properties he bought in the late 1990s. He said these properties were “flipped” for a profit within a period of months.

Mr Lynn said he was introduced to a process by bankers whereby the mortgage was not signed and no documents were lodged with the Land Registry at the time. He said this process, referred to in court as an 'undertaking only' mortgage, “allowed lending to become quicker, more fluid”.

“I was introduced to these processes by bankers,” Mr Lynn told the court. “I also say I didn't refuse them. I embraced them. I was a young person learning about business.”

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Mr Lynn said the registration process could take a year. “If you were in the business model of buying, holding and selling within four months to a year, the registration process would take a long time,” he said.

When buying a property with the intention of selling it quickly, he said he would arrange with the banks that it was undertaker only. These arrangements were made with senior bankers such as Michael Fingleton, the former chief executive of Irish Nationwide, he said.

When asked by counsel if this arrangement was on the letter of offer from a bank, Mr Lynn said it was not.

“It was a verbal arrangement with specific bankers or people who were senior in the credit committee,” he said.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.

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