Lynn faced 33 charges at the High Court relating to an alleged €80 million mortgage fraud when he fled to Brazil
The sun finally set on fugitive Michael Lynn’s decade-long sojourn from justice on Wednesday night as he boarded a flight out of Brazil on Wednesday night.
The former solicitor, 50, is scheduled to arrive in Dublin at lunchtime on Thursday alongside four Garda officers.It marks the end of a saga that began when he did not attend a High Court hearing on €80 million fraud charges in 2007.
Arrested in Brazil in 2013, he fought extradition to the last. But yesterday, with his options exhausted, he was taken from the Cotel prison he has called home for nearly five years to the international airport in Recife and was all set to be put on a night Condor flight to Frankfurt.
Lynn, wearing a patterned blue t-shirt and faded jeans, arrived at the airport in the back of a black shaded Federal Police 4x4 in the afternoon.
Handcuffed, he look tired and resentful and did not answer questions as he was led to his cell.
From Frankfurt, he was scheduled to be put on a connecting flight to Dublin, arriving on Thursday at noon.Brazil's Supreme Court ruled Lynn should be extradited in 2014.
But a series of delaying tactics by his lawyers drew out the legal process, even as he remained in a dirty jail cell he said was making him ill.“He did not give us any difficulties, said Luciana Martorelli, the head of immigration for Brazil’s Federal Police in Recife.
“The process was long but in the end it was not frustrating as we got him,” she said, smiling.It is likely the end of the line in Brazil too for his wife Bríd Murphy, who stayed by his side and now has four children, aged six, four, three and one.
The younger two were conceived when Lynn was in jail.
After years of legal wrangling, even the hours before the extradition were fraught with doubt about whether it would proceed.The night before, Brazil’s Ministry of Justice said they still had not received all the necessary undertakings from the Irish government to allow the extradition, without saying which were missing.
Only last week, Lynn’s lawyers were in court in Dublin to try and strike down an undertaking already given to the Brazilian authorities that the time he already spent in prison would be discounted from his eventual sentence.
Brazil would not extradite without that commitment.
It was only Lynn’s most recent of many attempts to impede extradition, exasperating the presiding judge on Brazil’s Supreme Court.Three times, his lawyers sought “clarification” of the original ruling, once brought a point of order, and then sought an internal grievance against the decision.
Judge Marco Aurélio called the repeated delaying tactics “an abandonment of the organic nature of law.”
Each time it caused a delay of many months as there is a backlog at Brazil’s highest court, which deals with about 50,000 cases a year. In truth, there was no chance the court would overturn its own decision.
It was a curious strategy if Lynn’s living conditions in the grim Cotel prison on the industrial outskirts of Recife, with a capacity of 700 but up to 2,400 inmates, were as bad as he claimed.At one point Lynn’s lawyers went to court to seek a transfer to a private hospital as he said he might have tuberculosis.
At the time he fled to Brazil, Lynn faced 33 charges at the High Court relating to an alleged €80 million mortgage fraud.He was said to have had debts of €80 million and his company was said to have 148 properties, 154 bank accounts and assets worth more than €50 million.
Some of the charges will be dropped as part of the extradition deal with Brazil but the most serious, of theft, will remain.
In Brazil, he lived openly in a villa with a swimming pool, barbecue area and state-of-the-art security system near a beach.But it was not quite his €5.5m mansion with private beach on Howth Head in Ireland. Rubbish was strewn around outside and donkeys grazed on the side of the road.
The couple’s first two children, who were born in August 2011 and November 2013, gave Lynn and his wife the right to permanent residency in Brazil.
His wife gave birth again in February 2015 and October 2016.
In Recife, he taught for 13 hours a week at the Britanic Piedade school, where his native English skills and “humble charm” were valued.He also registered a company, Quantum Consulting and Ventures, with of capital of €574,720 in yet another shot at achieving property riches.
He was also a member of the Caxanga Golf and Country Club in Recife, where individual memberships started at €174 a month.But his comfortable new life came to an end in August 2013 when Brazilian Federal Police, acting on behalf of Interpol, swooped to arrest him at a shopping centre near his home.
Lynn had likely believed he was safe, with there being no formal extradition treaty between Ireland and Brazil.
But a secret bilateral agreement had been struck between the countries.
It was the beginning of a long, but ultimately successful, road to bring him back to Ireland to face justice.