Former solicitor Thomas Byrne has told the courtroom at his €52m fraud trial that he is here to face the music.
The 47-year-old, with an address at Walkinstown Road, Crumlin, Dublin, is accused of transferring clients’ homes into his name and using them as collateral for millions of euro worth of property loans between 2004 and 2007.
Thomas Byrne’s evidence is that he was afraid of his business partner John Kelly who he claims constantly demanded money from him.
He told the jury he had to take out bank loans in order to satisfy the property developer’s voracious appetite for money.
The court heard that in October 2007 a junior solicitor in his practice called in the Law Society over her signature being forged on a solicitor’s undertaking.
The father-of-three said at this point Mr Kelly told him to leave the country and that he believed he was going to be killed.
He says he was brought into a walk-in freezer in Centra and given a hug and €10,000.
Asked about a KBC bank loan, he said it was John Kelly who described him as the right-hand-man to the founder of fashion house Prada - but he added the banker in question would have believed he was Madonna’s backing singer simply because he wanted to lend the money.