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Two found guilty of defrauding banks to finance £740m property portfolio

Two businessmen have been found guilty of defrauding banks by using forged documents to secure loans to acquire a property portfolio of £740m.

Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams were found guilty on two counts of conspiracy to defraud, following a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Between 2003 and 2008 Kallakis and Williams conspired to defraud Allied Irish Banks to obtain loans to finance a mostly commercial property portfolio.

The loans exceeded the purchase price of the properties through guarantees by Hong Kong property company Sun Hung Kai Properties, but the company had no knowledge of the transactions. The loans advanced by AIB were £60m in excess of the cost of the properties.

In a similar fraud in 2007 and 2008,the Bank of Scotland agreed a loan of €29m to convert a former passenger ferry into a super-yacht for Kallakis’s personal use.

He provided the bank with a worthless guarantee from Oregon Finance Corporation, using false accounting documents and forged attribution certificates.

The ferry on which the loan was secured turned out to have no value. By the time suspicions were raised, BoS had advanced €5.7m of the total €29m agreed.

During the trial the jury were told Kallakis used the proceeds of his fraud to fund a super-rich lifestyle in which he maintained a fleet of chauffer driven Bentleys, a private plane, a private helicopter, a luxury yacht moored in Monaco harbour and a collection of high value art works.

The jury returned unanimous verdicts on the two counts of conspiracy to defraud relating to AIB and BoS.

Kallakis and Williams will be sentenced tomorrow. A third person, Michael Becker, is also alleged to have conspired with the defendants. Becker is a Swiss national and a lawyer and businessman. He has not been charged as he is outside the UK.

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