Property developer intimidated me, claims former solicitor

Former solicitor Thomas Byrne has taken to the stand at his €52m theft and fraud trial.

Property developer intimidated me, claims former solicitor

Former solicitor Thomas Byrne has taken to the stand at his €52m theft and fraud trial.

The 47-year-old with a former address at Walkinstown Road, Crumlin, Dublin, has given evidence that he became afraid of one of his clients who demanded money and threatened his family.

The former solicitor is alleged to have transferred clients’ homes into his name and then used them as collateral for millions of euro worth of property loans between 2004 and 2007.

On the stand this morning, the 47-year-old has described building up his legal practice in Walkinstown in the 1990s and his difficulties with the Law Society in the mid 2000s over a shortfall in his client account.

He has said his biggest client was property developer John Kelly - a man who he has described as having a voracious appetite for money, but no income.

He has told the jury they made €1m by engaging in a property transaction together, but that Mr Kelly demanded all the profit.

He said he soon became afraid of him as Mr Kelly continuously demanded money and intimated that his brother had friends in the North.

Thomas Byrne said he was taking out bank loans to pay - he said on one occasion he refused a request for €250,000 and got a threatening phone call from Mr Kelly’s partner commenting on the lovely outfit his daughter was wearing on her way to school.

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