“A prison sentence of some substance is really inevitable” Judge Andrew Goymer this morning at the Southwark Crown Court
In London this morning, the verdict in the long-running trial of Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams, was delivered. Both were found guilty of defrauding AIB and British bank, HBOS. Sentencing takes place tomorrow morning, and it seems the judge has a lengthy prison sentence in mind.
AIB had advanced loans of GBP 740m to the pair between 2003 and 2008 on the basis of forged documents which purported to offer security for the loans.
AIB says it has suffered a GBP 60m (€75m) loss on the lending which went to purchasing 16 properties which were eventually repossessed by AIB and most were sold to Stephen Vernon’s Green Property for GBP 650m. The jewel in the crown in the portfolio was the Telegraph Building at 111 Buckingham Palace Road in Victoria, London on which AIB loaned GBP 224m and which was bought by Kallakis for GBP 200m in 2007 from the Barclay twins (of Maybourne and Paddy McKillen fame).
The fraud was eventually uncovered when AIB visited Hong Kong and discovered documents provided by Achilleas, purported to be authentic documents from a well-known HK property group, Sun Hun Kai Properties were in fact forged.
Property Week reported this morning “executives at the bank [AIB] accepted lavish hospitality from the tycoon that included trips to the 2006 World Cup final, the Monaco Grand Prix where AIB relationship managers stayed on board Kallakis’s yacht, and parties in Mauritius and St Petersberg.”
AIB, which we 99.5% own after shoveling €20.7bn into it and EBS, was asked for a comment on the verdict this morning, and also if it had conducted investigations over the acceptance of the security and if AIB personnel have questions to answer over the transaction and the entertainment referred to during the trial. There hasn’t been any response at time of writing.
UPDATE: 17th January, 2013. Achilleas was sentenced to seven years in prison this morning at the Southwark Crown Court. Alexander Williams was sentenced to five years. The UK’s property magazine Property Week reports “The judge lifted a court order banning the press from reporting that the first trial collapsed in January 2012 when Williams made an attempt on his own life… The judge noted in mitigation that Kallakis had the “loyal support” of a wife and four children. He said Williams was less fortunate since “his life fell apart” when his wife moved to the Philippines with his daughter.”