A lawyer working for Michael Lynn & Co Solicitors said in his multi-million euro theft lawsuit that she did not know the details of his borrowing.
r Lynn, 53, of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, County Wicklow, is on trial accused of stealing around £27million from seven financial institutions.
He pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between 23 October 2006 and 20 April 2007.
It is the prosecution’s case that Mr. Lynn obtained multiple mortgages on the same properties in a situation where the banks were unaware that other institutions were also providing financing.
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).
Fiona McAleenan, who worked for Michael Lynn & Co Solicitors, today dismissed testimony from Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe BL and defended that she was involved in the March 2007 transfer of ownership of the firm.
Ms McAleenan agreed that she had made a number of statements to Gardaí.
She agreed that after making an initial statement, she received legal advice not to make any further statements until certain court cases were completed.
She said by the time those proceedings were complete, she may have made eight more statements to Gardaí.
She was assisted by a lawyer in drafting her first statement.
The attorney explained to her that the general practice regarding commitments is that the responsibility for ensuring compliance rests with the attorney who made the commitment.
Ms McAleenan replied that she did not accept this at all and said she had made commitments with the understanding that staff would ensure compliance.
The attorney told her that she was “completely wrong” and that the Bar Association had made that clear.
She replied that she was not aware of this and that the Bar Association had not contacted her about it.
Mr. Comiskey O’Keefe informed her that, in addition to her knowledge of the ventures, she was also aware of Mr. Lynn’s bonds.
Ms McAleenan replied that she knew he was building a real estate portfolio in the broadest sense but was not aware of the specifics.
The attorney suggested there were a number of ways she was aware of these loans, aside from the covenants, which she declined to have signed.
She said she knew he was buying real estate from general conversations around the office.
Earlier in the trial, Ms McAleenan agreed with defense counsel that she had been in partnership negotiations with Mr Lynn but said she was “never a partner”.
She said an accountant acted on her behalf in the negotiations as she had no experience in such matters and had been offered a percentage she was not happy with.
She said the accountant contacted her and told her he would advise her.
Ms McAleenan said she remembered being offered 10, but thought she was looking for between 25 and 30.
She said she did not delve into the company’s financial details because her accountant did.
Ms McAleenan said the reason the partnership never materialized was because the accountant indicated she needed to see more detailed documentation, but she never received those documents.
She agreed that a draft partnership agreement had been presented to her, but when suggested by a solicitor that Mr Lynn said she drew up that agreement, she said she could not remember.
Ms. McAleenan agreed with the attorney that sometime in 2005 she wrote to the Law Society advising them that she was a partner in the firm.
She said Mr Lynn asked her to do this because he was looking to hire an additional trainee and that trainee needed to be made a partner.
She said she wrote the letter to help the trainee and also because she “promised” a partnership.
She told Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe she was unaware that to train an intern she didn’t have to be a partner, all she needed was seven years of experience.
“That’s what Michael Lynn told me,” Ms. McAleenan said.
She said she doesn’t remember telling employees at the firm that she was a partner and doesn’t remember an email being sent to employees about it.
She admitted that the company letterhead listed her as a partner, but said she couldn’t remember if she had a business card that said she was a partner.
Ms McAleenan said she does not recall telephone conversations with certain bank officials who previously told the trial they had spoken to Fiona McAleenan on the phone.
“I never spoke to them,” she said.
She said she also doesn’t recall receiving a large check at the company that was hand-delivered, but acknowledged that a letter presented to the jury showing the check had been received at the office was from her was signed.
Ms McAleenan accepted it was “a one-line letter” and said she assumed she must have read it, but agreed with a suggestion by Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe that “she wasn’t the least bit curious about it”.
“I didn’t ask any questions about it,” Ms. McAleenan said. The trial will continue before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.
https://www.independent.ie/news/solicitor-who-worked-for-michael-lynn-tells-multi-million-euro-theft-trial-she-was-unaware-of-the-details-of-his-borrowings-41508249.html The lawyer who worked for Michael Lynn tells of a multi-million-dollar theft lawsuit that she didn’t know the details of his borrowing