'Delete files' claim in Kallakis/AIB action
Published 11/11/2011 | 05:00
A FORMER staff member of a company connected with an alleged £740m (€866m) fraud against AIB was told to delete computer files after allegations emerged against the owners of the firm.
The staff member, who cannot be named for legal reasons, instead backed up details of letters and invoices after being told to take them off the system of Atlas Management in 2008.
Achilleas Kallakis and his business partner Alexander Williams are accused of using forged guarantees from a reputable Hong Kong property company -- Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) -- to secure loans totalling £740m for properties between 2003 and 2008. Both deny the charges.
SHKP told AIB in 2008 that it had no record of the guarantees. The bank shortly after sold the portfolio to Green Property at a loss of £56m.
Southwark Crown Court heard yesterday how Mr Williams had contacted a member of Atlas Management -- the firm that managed the properties -- in December 2008 and instructed "the old data" be deleted from the servers of the company.
The staff member said Williams initially asked to remove the servers from the building in a cab and then, when told this would not be possible, said the data should be deleted.
"I was concerned at the turn of events. I wanted to do the right thing legally and by my employer. My loyalties were clearly split," the staff member said. The court heard Mr Williams had insisted that the data be deleted. A legal representative opposed the idea.
However, the staff member became concerned at the motives for deleting the information and thought there may be a tax investigation in process. The court heard the staff member was concerned about becoming involved.
The employee said there was no plan for the information but to hand it to the authorities if requested.
The data was transferred on to a hard drive which had previously been used to move files of films to and from Kallakis' ship.
Instead of deleting the files, the court heard that the employee disconnected network wiring which meant it appeared, from the office computers, that the data was gone. Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams deny 23 charges of fraud, forgery and money laundering, amongst others.
The trial continues.