Business Irish

Monday 22 September 2014

Achilleas Kallakis: a dealmaker who embellished his status as a tycoon

Published 17/01/2013 | 05:00

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Achilleas Kallakis was one of the best-known dealmakers in London's cosy property world.

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With a wealth of posh commercial property under his control, he was regularly ranked as one of the wealthiest Greeks in the English capital and had a lifestyle to match.

But it was all based on a tissue of lies. While he claimed to be a member of a wealthy Greek shipping family, he is in fact from much more humble beginnings: his father worked as a port captain and then operated an unsuccessful nightclub in Liverpool.

After graduating from university, Kallakis went into a range of business ventures, from a travel agency to trying to set up a lobster farm.

It was in the same courthouse where he was found guilty yesterday that, in 1995, he and his business partner and friend Alex Williams were found guilty of conspiracy to commit forgery in relation to the sale of bogus titles to Americans.

Hoodwink

Soon after, and claiming to want to leave his past behind him for a clean break, he changed his name from Kollakis to Kallakis, a move which would act to hoodwink the property world for 13 years.

During the AIB deals, which started when Kallakis was just 34 years old, he presented a confident front of a tough dealmaker who knew his subject and was willing to share insights and information about the market with those around.

Socially, he associated with Prince Albert of Monaco and was pictured in an American business magazine alongside the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Come 2008, when allegations emerged against him, the high-profile friends fell away and he was left to develop elaborate theories, not backed by any evidence, of how he had always believed the guarantees at the heart of the case to be real.

Perversely, the courts heard several times that he was so clever that he would undoubtedly have been successful in life had he taken the honest road.

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