Bank 'duped' by forged letters in £800m mortgage fraud

Bank 'duped' by forged letters in £800m mortgage fraud


A British court has heard that fraudsters ‘duped’ almost £800 million from a bank following the production of several forged documents, reports the Irish Times.

Southwark Crown Court heard on Tuesday how Achilleas Kallakis and fellow conspirator Alexander Williams had used falsified letters, purporting to be from a Hong Kong-based property firm and Swiss bank Credit Suisse, to con the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and Bristol & West Building Society out of £800 million. 

Forged letters, supposedly from Hong Kong firm Sun Hung Kai Properties, convinced AIB to pay out loans on 16 occasions to cover apparent gaps in rental income, but allowed for a surplus of £77 million pocketed by the pair of con-men.

A letter presented before court was written on notepaper forged by a north London printer, and claimed that Mr Kallakis’ company Oregon Finance had more than $410 million cash in reserve, with outstanding loans of $118 still to be paid and a net worth of nearly $800 million. 

Though AIB leant on the strength of these assets, when the time came to liquidise Oregon Finance it was found that the company was worth next to nothing. 

The two men face 23 charges of fraud in the retrial of a case which was first presented to the City of London Magistrates Court

in March 2010

Recent developments confirm, however, that the amount of money loaned by AIB was well in excess of the £61 million originally reported. 

A B&C article last year

reported that a previous colleague of Mr Kallakis considered him to be “a short-tempered bully who boasted he was a multimillionaire with a family trust fund.”

Opening the prosecution, Victor Temple QC told the court, however, that Mr Kallakis had come from a humble background. He had purportedly changed his surname from Kollakis in order to distance himself from his father, who had worked as a port captain and ran an unsuccessful nightclub in Liverpool. He then changed his mother’s death certificate to hide the fact that he had abandoned his family name.

Mr Temple also told the court: “Had he chosen to do so [he] could have earned an honest living. Regretfully, he did not so choose. His apparent success, now set at naught, was the product of deceit and dishonesty.”

Mr Williams, on the other hand, was described as “self-effacing, quiet and assuming in public, very much the paid employee” by Mr Temple. He then added: “The reality was a little more complex. Underneath the modest exterior he was a knowing contributor.”

The case is set to continue for several months as the pair face 23 charges of fraud.




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    How on earth did this pass through underwriting? When I was an active broker, getting even a small secured loan was fraught with sending copious representation and documents. Jeez! I wish now that I knew these guys...any guess how many years they will serve? Any guess if the money will be recovered (assuming they are as smart as Asil Nadir)? Suffice to say I have neither sympathy for the guys who got caught nor the banks who got screwed for a change!

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