Lynn trial hears former solicitor paid deposits of just 5% on property purchases
Posted on 24th March 2022 at 20:35
Court told of failings and delays surrounding closing of deals
The trial of a former solicitor accused of multi-million euro thefts has heard evidence of failings and delays surrounding his purchase of properties in the early 2000s.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Michael Lynn (53) repeatedly paid a deposit of only 5 per cent when buying property while the standard amount required at the time was 10 per cent.
The court also heard that his firm, Michael Lynn & Co, also delayed returning signed contracts, failed to meet sale closing dates and failed to pay interest due on outstanding balances.
Mr Lynn is accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions, namely 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).
He has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 2007.
The State claims that Mr Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties, in a situation where banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing finance.
Five solicitors representing different clients who bought properties across Dublin from Mr Lynn between 2006 and 2008 gave evidence to the court on Thursday.
The court heard how in each case, Michael Lynn’s firm paid a 5 per cent deposit when purchasing the house or apartment, although the usual amount required by vendors was 10 per cent.
Solicitor Patrick Troy told the court that his client Helen Coughlan sold a property on Henrietta Street, Dublin 1 to Michael Lynn & Co in 2007.
He said Ms Coughlan was “very unsatisfied” when Michael Lynn & Co only paid a 5 per cent deposit on the house, and that eventually, Mr Lynn agreed to pay a deposit of 7.5 per cent.
Mr Lynn also repeatedly failed to pay the outstanding balance due by agreed sale closing dates, the court heard, and the solicitors gave evidence of serving him with 28 days’ notice to complete a sale.
The solicitors agreed with John Berry SC, for the State, that these delays gave the vendors the right to charge interest on the outstanding balances owed by Mr Lynn.
Solicitor Stephen Mahon told the court of one instance in 2007 where his client sued Mr Lynn for failure to pay an outstanding balance in the allowed time frame.
Mr Mahon said he was an apprentice in Reidy Stafford Solicitors in 2006 when his clients Paddy and Dolores Jordan agreed to sell a property on Dublin’s Pearse Street to Mr Lynn.
The contracts for sale of the property were sent to Michael Lynn & Co in October 2006, with a closing date initially set for February 2007.
The completed contracts were returned on 13th April, 2007, confirming a new closing date for 24th April. This date was not met, and Reidy Stafford issued Mr Lynn with a 28-day notice to complete the sale.
The sale was not completed within that time period either, and finally the outstanding balance was sent in August 2007 in the form of two bank drafts, and the sale was closed in September 2007.
Mr Mahon said that because of the delay on the outstanding balance, his clients had a right to interest owed of over €18,000 and that accordingly they began Circuit Court proceedings against Mr Lynn.
On Friday, a former personal assistant to Michael Lynn, Liz Doyle, is due to give evidence to the court.
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