Former solicitor Michael Lynn has begun giving evidence in his defence at his trial for theft.

The 53-year-old, with an address at Redcross in Co Wicklow, has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of stealing a total of almost €30 million from financial institutions in 2006 and 2007.

It is the prosecution case that he dishonestly and repeatedly applied for multiple mortgages on the same properties from financial institutions without the knowledge of the institutions.

Mr Lynn has been giving evidence of his childhood as the youngest of five children growing up on a dairy farm in Crossmolina in Co Mayo.

He has also been giving evidence about his early career and how he built up his solicitor's practice during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

He began buying properties and began to become involved in property development in Hungary, Portugal and in Ireland.

Mr Lynn said things "were exploding" in Ireland between 1997 and 1999 as he began to build up his legal practice.

He described setting up a property development company called Kendar Holdings Limited, named after two friends of his who had died.

He began developing property in Portugal after finding a site in the eastern Algarve, in a village that reminded him of "Crossmolina in the sun".