The £750m fraud case - colleagues reveal all

The £750m fraud case - colleagues reveal all



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A tycoon accused of conning banks into lending him £750 million is a "short-tempered bully who boasted he was a multimillionaire with a family trust fund", one of his former employees told a London court this week.

 

Achilleas Kallakis, 43, is on trial alongside his “right-hand man” Alex Williams whom he met at university. The pair are alleged to have lived a life of luxury until the businesses which were run out a swanky Mayfair office collapsed, jurors were told this week.

 

Nigel Dransfield, Mr Kallakis’ former executive assistant at Atlas Management Corporation, told the court he was left to deal with calls from angry clients - including builders who were renovating his properties.

 

Describing his boss, Mr Dransfield said: “I personally felt that he was a bully. He didn’t treat his workforce particularly well.

“That was my view of him. He was very short tempered.”

He also told jurors that Mr Kallakis ordered staff not to put his name on any invoices related to the company in case they led back to him. “On one occasion I was told to take a hotel bill back for a Dorchester suite and have Mr Kallakis’s name removed from it,” Mr Dransfield claimed, The Irish Times reports.

Mr Dransfield said the arrival of auditors at their offices had led to panic from the pair. "It was quite dramatic as it happened and the attitude of Kallakis and Williams to the arrival was one of panic. They looked worried,” Dransfield told the court. He added that payments and the liquidity of the company changed "dramatically” after the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) visit.

 

“There was a shortage of cash and we were not being paid our salaries on time. The building was being emptied and paintings in it were being sold.”

 

Last month the courts were told that the pair had previous convictions for selling fake peerages. They even went as far as changing their names and forging the death certificate of Mr Kallakis’ mother so her name at death matched his.

 

An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office found the pair had forged documents, set up fake companies and changed their names in order to defraud AIB and BoS out of £740 million and £22.6 million respectively, reported the Daily Telegraph.

 

Mr Kallakis was so convincing he was able to secure loans to buy “first-class premises” in Monaco and Greece, and even accompanied Prince Albert of Monaco on a diplomatic mission to the Far East, the Southwark Crown Court heard. The court also heard how, at one stage, Mr Kallakis was ambassador of the state of San Marino. He had even earmarked a building in Athens to be the San Marino embassy, the Irish Times reported.

Another witness, corporate barrister Julian Henley-Price, who was employed by Mr Kallakis from May 2007 until early 2009, said he knew that the defendant had “a chauffeur-driven Bentley and his own plane” and said he was “ultimately in charge”, despite Mr Kallakis’ claims he had nothing to do with Atlas Management.

Paul Harden, another former employee, who worked as a solicitor for the firm, told the court it was Mr Kallakis who gave the orders. “[He was] autocratic. He gave instructions and expected them to be obeyed.”

Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams bought 16 landmark properties on the back of the cash sourced mainly by AIB. When the business based on forgeries went bust, the bank lost £56 million.

Losses on the property loans for AIB and Bank of Scotland (BoS) amounted to £56m and €5.8m respectively. The loan from BoS was to convert a passenger ferry into a luxury yacht.

 

Both deny two counts of conspiracy to defraud, 13 counts of forgery, five counts of fraud by false representation, two counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception.

The trial continues.

By Jason McGee-Abe

1 Comments

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    Alex

    Too late to confiscate anything!!! It's all been spent, cashed in, whisked away into hidden accounts and assets in third names... I say £60m is a good pay for 5 years of "investment work" and even say 10 years of prison sentence that they might get... Most ordinary people will never earn 2-3% of this kind of money in their lifetime!!!

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