ANY relief which may have been felt in AIB last Wednesday morning that one of the final hangovers from the grim practices which defined the boom years had ended was short-lived.
Achilleas Kallakis, the fallen darling of London's Mayfair, was going to prison, along with his business partner Alex Williams, marking the end of a court case which had started in September 2011 and had taken in two trials.
At an end also were the frequent illustrations of how AIB staff had enjoyed the perks of courting the fraudsters' business – a three-day 'thank-you' trip to Mauritius at the end of a deal, an overnighter on his yacht in Monte Carlo – and of the shoddy lack of background checks which led Kallakis to become one of the banks biggest customers based on fake rental guarantees which were worth nothing.
By the time the pair were found out, they had taken out £740m (€920m) worth of loans to buy 16 properties across the UK, in the process earning Kallakis the reputation as one of the main dealmakers in the City of London.
To a packed public gallery last Thursday morning, Judge Andrew Goymer, who had presided over both of the trials – the first collapsing after Williams tried to take his own life – was unequivocal in his criticism of both AIB and Bank of Scotland, which also leant money to Kallakis.
"The two banks. . . have undoubtedly acted carelessly and imprudently by failing to make full enquiries before advancing the money," was one of the first things the judge said.
An elaborate fraud had taken advantage of "less responsible bankers" who were operating in a culture "in which corners were cut and checks and applications were superficial and cursory".
To hark back 10 years, and AIB has surely done this a number of times, the then 34-year-old could barely have appeared a better candidate to lend to. A member of a Greek shipping dynasty, he had guarantees from a Hong Kong property company – Sun
Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) – which would guarantee rents on buildings for an average of 18 years into the future.
In effect, these guarantees inflated the values of the properties so Kallakis – with Williams in the background looking after the details – could borrow more than the buildings were worth as well as securing payments for SHKP to enter into the deal.
And thus the elaborate scam accelerated. He continued to borrow, increasing his property portfolio and securing all the trappings of wealth that came with them – a private plane, a helicopter, a yacht moored in Monaco and an extensive art collection.
Kallakis played a good game, he associated with Prince Albert of Monaco, claimed to be the ambassador for the Republic of San Marino and complained of the media's negative attitude towards the wealthy. In the snake pit that it is the City of London, he was seen as a major property dealmaker.
Claims at his trial that he was a simple man who enjoyed standing on the terraces to watch football and a takeaway at home seem all the more laughable after one report this week that he once waved $100 under the noses of a group of drinkers in a Las Vegas bar to move from his favoured seat.
Mike Cooke, a senior member of the lending team in AIB's London office at the time, said Kallakis was considered as an important and growing client, and not a relationship they wanted to lose.
The guarantees were taken as real – it would not have been the normal practice of the bank to check with the renter of the property, the court heard from another former AIB staffer.
For the bank, it was a very busy time as it tried to gain a greater position in the London property market and it was not until a German bank was asked to share some of Kallakis's loan exposure that it emerged he had a criminal past, having sold fake titles to Americans.
The carefully constructed web of lies and deceit quickly collapsed and AIB was left holding a portfolio of 14 properties a few weeks before the State bank guarantee came into effect.
They were quickly sold on to Green Property under cover of extreme discretion and with an agreement that the bank would share in the profits of future sales.
It is this agreement which faced a series of questions during the trial with Kallakis's legal team arguing that the bank could in fact profit from the whole transaction as the buildings have grown in value since the 2008 crash.
It was the contention from AIB that it had lost £56m (€66m) as a result of the fraud which brought another criticism from Judge Goymer who described this as a "paper figure and with some scepticism".