Details of scam to sell the Ritz revealed in court

Details of scam to sell the Ritz revealed in court


The details behind an ambitious con to sell The Ritz Hotel for £250 million have been heard in court this week, as three men stand accused of defrauding property investors in a deal described as “complete fantasy”.

Conn Farrell, 57, Patrick Dolan, 68, and Anthony Lee, 49, have all appeared at Southwark Crown Court, denying conspiracy to defraud.

According to Anuja Dhir QC, prosecuting, the three men chose their targets well, before offering them the opportunity of a lifetime – to buy the iconic Ritz Hotel and Casino in Piccadilly, London for a bargain of £250 million.

This offer is actually half of the actual value of the hotel, estimated to be between £450 million and £600 million.

Pretending that they knew the billionaire owners of the hotel, the famously reclusive Barclay brothers, Mr Dolan and Mr Lee told the two investors, Terence Collins and Marcel Boerkhoon, that they could buy the Ritz for just £200 million, and sell it on to Mr Collins’ firm, London Allied, for £250 million.

Mr Farrell acted as their solicitor to allegedly lend an air of credibility to the deal, which took place between January 2006 and March 2007, and ended in £1 million being extracted from the victims.

Ms Dhir said: “As the negotiations progressed, they sucked their victims in with more false promises and frustrated them with unnecessary requests until they managed to extract from them a payment of £1m.”

The case continues, with the Barclay brothers set to give evidence in what is expected to be a four week trial.

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