A solicitor who worked for Michael Lynn & Co Solicitors has told his multi-million euro theft trial that she does not recall him giving her €50,000 towards the purchase of her family home.
Fiona McAleenan told defence counsel that she did not recall such a contribution “at all” and that she was “completely taken aback” by the suggestion.
In her fifth day in the witness box, Ms McAleenan said she recalled receiving a bonus from Mr Lynn. “But I don't recall €50,000,” she said.
Mr Lynn (53) is on trial accused of the theft of around €27 million from seven financial institutions.
Mr Lynn, of Millbrook Court, Red Cross, Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of theft in Dublin between October 23rd, 2006 and April 20th, 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.
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).
On Monday, defence counsel Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL continued his cross-examination of Ms McAleenan, who worked for Michael Lynn & Co Solicitors during the time in question.
Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe brought the court through a number of documents, including a weekly report from May 2007. Ms McAleenan said she did not recall receiving weekly reports.
“You were being updated as partner?” Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe said.
“Absolutely not,” Ms McAleenan replied.
A number of mortgages were listed on the weekly report, including a mortgage application by Ms McAleenan and her husband. Ms McAleenan confirmed that was the mortgage for her family home.
Defence counsel put it to Ms McAleenan that, “Michael Lynn will give evidence he contributed €50,000 to that house purchase in relation to a profit share agreement” he had with Ms McAleenan.
“I do not recall that at all, and I am completely taken aback by that,” Ms McAleenan said.
“I do recall receiving some form of bonus from him,” she said under further questioning. “I don't recall €50,000.”
Ms McAleenan again repeatedly denied that she was a partner in the firm or that she was involved in conveyancing in the practice. She said it was important to state that the High Court found that she was not a partner in the firm.
Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe said the defence was looking at whether Ms McAleenan “made herself out to be partner”.
The court was shown an email sent around to the practice in October 2006 from Mr Lynn stating he was pleased to announce Ms McAleenan had been appointed partner.
“Fiona has full authority to direct all members of staff with regards to their range of responsibilities and duties within the practice,” the email said.
Mr Comiskey O'Keeffe showed the court an email from Ms McAleenan to Mr Lynn in which she suggested including this particular phrase, saying it would be “beneficial” to insert it.
Ms McAleenan said she did not recall the email or the memo.
“I don't recall it. It's as simple as that,” she said. “I can't deny it. I can't recall it.”
The court was also shown a memo from Ms McAleenan to a company secretary requesting that the name 'partner' be placed under her name in company headed paper, compliment slips and business cards.
“I don't recall that, and I was not a partner in the practice,” Ms McAleenan said.
Under further questioning, Ms McAleenan said there were a number of documents where she was described as a partner, but that this was at the request of Mr Lynn.
“I see why now,” she said. The trial continues before Judge Martin Nolan and a jury.