Monday 22 December 2014

Fraud-trial jury must decide if guarantees were forged

Shane Hickey London

Published 10/01/2013 | 05:00

THE jury in the case of two men accused of masterminding a €920m fraud against AIB has been told it must question whether rental guarantees used to take out property loans at the centre of the case were in fact forgeries, as has been alleged by the defence.

Judge Andrew Goymer yesterday began his remarks summing up the case involving Achilleas Kallakis and his business partner Alexander Williams.

Both men are accused of using false guarantees from a reputable Hong Kong property giant, Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), to secure 16 property loans between 2003 and 2008.

The pair have pleaded not guilty to 23 fraud charges relating to the loans after the allegations emerged in September 2008.

Yesterday Judge Goymer told the jury members that they must ask themselves whether the guarantees were in fact forgeries and if so, whether the two men knew them to be forgeries.

Testimony

The defence in the case has raised suggestions of the involvement of senior members of SHKP in the guarantees and that they then may have distanced themselves from the guarantees once the financial collapse occurred.

The judge said the jury needed to decide whether former SHKP chairman Walter Kwok was telling the truth during his testimony to the court when he said he knew nothing of the men or the guarantees.

The judge's summing up of the evidence comes at the end of the marathon trial, which started last September.

The jury will be discharged at the end of the judge's comments to return a verdict.

The court has heard how the two men have previous convictions – both for being involved in the sale of bogus honorary titles and Mr Williams for passport offences.

The judge told the jury to "be very careful" in that they cannot find the men guilty just because of previous convictions.

"Was this the result of fraud and dishonesty?" he said. "That's what you have to decide."

The summing up is expected to continue today.

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