Ex-solicitor Byrne charged with €2m theft

Struck-off solicitor Thomas Byrne was charged today with stealing more than €2m from clients in connection with the purchase of an apartment building in Dublin.

Ex-solicitor Byrne charged with €2m theft

Struck-off solicitor Thomas Byrne was charged today with stealing more than €2m from clients in connection with the purchase of an apartment building in Dublin.

Fraud squad officers detained the ex-solicitor at Irishtown Garda Station in south Dublin yesterday.

Mr Byrne (aged 45), of Walkinstown Road, Dublin 12, but who also has an address at Aungier St, in Dublin 2, was held in Garda custody overnight.

Unshaven and dressed in a long brown suede overcoat, with fur collar and lapels, he was brought before Dublin District Court this evening to face two counts under the Theft and Fraud Offences Act.

Mr Byrne, who formerly had a solicitor's practice in Walkinstown, in Dublin, was granted legal aid. He kept his head down and remained silent during the brief proceedings.

His first charge alleges that on a date unknown but subsequent to May 2, 2006, he “did dishonestly appropriate the sum of €1,887,415” which had been entrusted to him by Brian Whelan, Brian Maher and Enda Mulryan for the purpose of discharging a loan with Permanent TSB.

That charge also states that this was “with the intention of depriving them of same”.

The second count alleges he took €198,742 which had been given to him for the purpose of paying stamp duty in the purchase of 75 Upper Dorset Street, Dublin 1.

There was no indication of how he intends to plead.

Det Sergeant Paschal Walsh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, told Judge Cormac Dunne that Mr Byrne “made no reply” when the charges were put to him.

Det Sgt Walsh sought an eight-week remand and said there was no objection to bail. However, he asked Judge Dunne to set conditions that Mr Byrne “surrenders his passport and undertakes not to apply for another passport”.

Defence counsel Sean O Siothchain (instructed by solicitor David Christie), informed the judge that there was consent to these terms being imposed.

Judge Dunne ordered the former solicitor to surrender his passport to gardaí and not to look for a new one. He also directed that the Department of Foreign Affairs was to be notified of the court's order.

Mr Byrne was remanded on bail in his own bond of €1,000 to appear again on a date in February.

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