Kallakis trial: The verdict
Property entrepreneurs Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams have been found guilty of fraud.
A jury gave a unanimous verdict at Southwark Crown Court this morning.
The pair were found guilty of obtaining £740m in loans from Allied Irish Bank between 2003 and 2007 using forged overriding leases, purporting to be signed by Hong Kong property giant Sun Hung Kai properties.
They were also found guilty of fraudulently obtaining £26m from HBOS to convert a ferry into a super-yacht.
AIB accrued losses of £60m on the loans. HBOS lost £5.8m.
Sentencing will take place at 10am on Thursday morning. Judge Andrew Goymer said: “A prison sentence of some substance is really inevitable.” It took the jury nearly three days to reach a unanimous decision.
The trial has provided a unique insight into banking during the pre-2008 property boom.
Kallakis told jurors during the 4 month trial that AIB were “desperate” to lend to him in an attempt to expand their property loan book.
Executives at the bank 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.
The jury found that Williams, acting on Kallakis’s orders, forged the SHKP overriding leases.
The bank believed SHKP wanted to invest in UK property indirectly to keep it off its balance sheet - the structure meant SHKP would receive a premium for the leases that greatly inflated Kallakis’s portfolio.
AIB discovered the documents were fake in 2008 when it sent a team, accompanied by lawyers, to Hong Kong to meet with SHKP, where they were informed the company had no knowledge of Kallakis or Williams.