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Michael Lynn trial: Solicitor says she never acted for accused in purchase of €5.5 million property

Lynn (53) is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions.

A SOLICITOR WHO worked for Michael Lynn & Co Solicitors has told his multi-million euro theft trial that she never acted for Lynn in the purchase of a €5.5 million property in Howth.

Fiona McAleenan told the multi-million euro theft trial that she didn’t sign an application for a €3.85 million loan for the €5.5 million Howth property known as Glenlion and that her signature was forged in a March 2007 letter to Bank of Scotland Ireland saying she was acting for Lynn in the matter.

The correspondence stated: “I confirm I am a partner in the firm and I wish to advise I am acting independently of Michael Lynn in this matter.” Ms McAleenan said she had never seen this document until she was shown it in court today.

Did you ever have anything to do with this application for the transfer of €3.85 million to the borrowers Michael Lynn and (his wife) Brid Murphy?” Prosecuting barrister, Patrick McGrath SC, asked.

“No I did not,” Ms McAleenan said.

Lynn (53) is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions.

Lynn, of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, 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 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).

Earlier, the trial was shown correspondence from Ms McAleenan’s email address to National Irish Bank in February 2007 containing a letter saying Ms McAleenan was in a position to act independently from Lynn.

The letter said Ms McAleenan was a partner in the company and would be “acting in this matter independently and totally at arms length from my client”.

Ms McAleenan told prosecution counsel that she did not send that email and that Lynn was never her client.

She said it was possible someone had accessed her computer while she was at lunch or in court. She told the trial her computer was not password protected.

The trial has previously heard evidence from Michael O’Malley, then a senior corporate lawyer with National Irish Bank.

Mr O’Malley said he had a phone conversation in early 2007 with someone he thought was Ms McAleenan, who assured him that there was no conflict of interest in her acting for Mr Lynn in his loan applications.

During this conversation, Mr O’Malley said he was told that Ms McAleenan was now the principal in the firm, that Mr Lynn only had a small involvement and was more involved in the property business.

After this conversation, Mr O’Malley advised the bank that he was satisfied Ms McAleenan was acting independently of Mr Lynn.

Ms McAleenan told the trial she never spoke with Mr O’Malley.

“There was no emphatic conversation that there was no conflict of interest?” Mr McGrath asked.

“No, not from me,” Ms McAleenan said.

Elizabeth Doyle, a legal executive who worked for Mr Lynn at the time, told the trial last week that she signed Ms McAleenan and Mr Lynn’s signatures on a number of documents. She said she was told to do this by Mr Lynn.

Ms Doyle told the trial she never discussed this with Ms McAleenan because Mr Lynn had said he would speak with Ms McAleenan about it.

Ms McAleenan said she did not give permission to Ms Doyle or to Mr Lynn to sign her name on any documents. She also denied an assertion by Ms Doyle that she was employed by the firm as a practice manager.

“I was never brought in to manage the practice,” Ms McAleenan said.

The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.