Major deal with AIB was completed in just 12 days, says Kallakis
Published 21/01/2012 | 05:00
AIB completed multi-million euro property deals from start to finish in as little as 12 days at the peak of the boom, it has been claimed.
A businessman accused of orchestrating a £740m (€888m) fraud against the bank yesterday described in court an extremely relaxed lending culture.
Achilleas Kallakis (43) said that in one instance, the period from when he gave AIB details of a transaction to when the deal was completed was just 12 working days -- less than half the time it would normally take in 2003. Nowadays, the same deal would need four to five months to be cleared.
Mr 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 from AIB between 2003 and 2008 for a series of high-end property deals.
They have pleaded not guilty to 21 charges, including conspiracy to defraud, fraud, forgery, money laundering and obtaining a money transfer by deception.
In Southwark Crown Court yesterday, Mr Kallakis said he would typically meet a member of the bank's property lending team to outline the details of a deal and not hear from the bank again until it had been approved by the credit committee in AIB.
He described a casual situation within the bank where he would call and be told the loan had been "sorted out".
The relationship between Mr Kallakis and the bank started in 2003 when AIB was anxious to capitalise off the booming UK property market.
The allegations against the two men emerged in 2008 after which AIB took over their property book and sold it to Green Property at a loss of £56m.
The UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which has brought charges against Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams, alleges that they used a collection of false documents to say they had guaranteed rental incomes even if no tenants were in the buildings they wanted to buy.
The trial continues on Monday.