Accused in AIB fraud case 'panicked after police raid'
A BUSINESSMAN accused of a raft of fraud charges following an alleged £740m (€888m) property scam against AIB has said he never met any representatives of a Hong Kong property giant which, it was claimed, was providing him with loan guarantees.
Achilleas Kallakis (43) yesterday said he went into a "state of panic" when his home and business premises in London were raided by British fraud squad officers.
Mr Kallakis and business partner Alexander Williams deny 21 charges including conspiracy to defraud, fraud, forgery, money laundering and obtaining a money transfer by deception.
The pair 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. In Southwark Crown Court, London, yesterday, Mr Kallakis said a broker acted as the link between him and SHKP. He said the fact that he had not met any of the main figures in the property company was a "major concern".
He said the broker in the deals did not want the two parties to meet as this may mean that he would be cut out of future transactions and lose out on fees. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which has brought charges against Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams, alleges both accused 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.
Yesterday, Mr Kallakis said he kept a USB stick backed-up with his documentation with him when he was travelling on business during the period in question.
He said the memory stick was lost or stolen a few days after a raid by the SFO.
Mr Kallakis had been in Monaco at the time and was informed of the raids on his home and business by his wife.
"It came as a massive shock," Mr Kallakis said. "I was in a state of panic."
After the allegations against the two men emerged, AIB subsequently took over their property portfolio and sold the high-end addresses at a loss of £56m.
The trial continues.