Property king loses £9.4m confiscation challenge

Property king loses £9.4m confiscation challenge


A jailed fraudster who applied for 31 mortgages using forged documents has failed in an attempt to challenge an order to hand over more than £9.4 million.

Jean-Pierre Bestel built up a portfolio of 95 properties. He applied for 31 mortgages during 2007 using forged documents and falsely claimed he was earning a six-figure salary.

Bestel, 49, a former business consultant, was sentenced for three years for mortgage fraud back in March last year, reported Kent Online.

He was found to have benefited by £9,427,123 and given six months to pay it or face a further ten years in prison. It was the largest ever confiscation by Kent Police.

Last week, Bestel appeared at Maidstone Crown Court to ask Judge Charles Macdonald QC to re-try the issue of benefit.

The confiscation proceedings were taken against Jean-Pierre Bestel in his absence in July.

Bestel, who said he was staying with a friend, told the judge he suffered from bipolar disorder, which caused "extraordinary behaviour", and that he was seeing a psychiatrist and his GP every month.

"I am still on medication every day," he said. "One of the side effects is it destroys your memory. It is something I have to deal with every day."

Asked if he deliberately failed to attend court in July, he replied: "As God is my witness, I didn’t deliberately miss the hearing."

Judge Macdonald said Bestel had sent in a letter containing an enormous list of assets.

"However, his asset position remains wholly unclear," said the judge. "He appears today by privately funded lawyers. He is well dressed. He has several classic cars."

Gerard Hillman, defending, said friends and family of Bestel had provided the funding for the hearing. He asked for Bestel's legal aid certificate to remain.

Judge Macdonald said he rejected Bestel's claim that he was unaware of the confiscation hearing date and found he was "voluntarily absent".

Macdonald added: "There is absolutely no reason to think if I allowed the matter to be reopened he would provide the necessary cooperation. Practically nothing has still been done."

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