Thursday 22 February 2018

€920m AIB fraud accused admits passport forgery

Shane Hickey London

A MAN charged with helping to orchestrate a €920m fraud against AIB has admitted he forged the name on a passport which was falsely obtained.

Alexander Williams yesterday told a London court jury he had initially lied when he said he did not forge names on applications, which resulted in a conviction for passport offences.

Williams and Achilleas Kallakis each deny 23 charges of fraud and money laundering, among others, surrounding €920m in property loans taken out from AIB between 2003 and 2008, allegedly using forged rental guarantees.

The prosecution claims Williams was a prolific and competent forger. He was previously convicted of three offences of obtaining a passport by deception and of trying to obtain one by deception.

Under cross-examination yesterday, Mr Williams initially denied he had forged names on four passport applications but later admitted he had signed a passport which was obtained in June 1992.

He said it was "something I had put out of my mind" and was a "time of my life I wish had not happened". Another passport application was signed by a girlfriend, who it was for.

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow suggested that one of the key issues in the current trial was that documents were said to have been forged, which Williams denied was something he was experienced in.

The two accused men took out the loans from AIB with rental guarantees apparently from a reputable Hong Kong property giant, Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP). The company denies any knowledge of the existence of the guarantees, which are said to have been forged.

Ms Darlow said that a number of people who had been mentioned in the case by Williams had disappeared.

Mr Williams said he had not asked for the help of the authorities in tracking down Richard Lee – said to be the link between him and SHKP – because he has found people were unwilling to help him after the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) become involved.

Earlier, he had told the court that he was "dumbstruck and shattered" when AIB raised allegations against the men in September 2008.

Mr Williams claims to have received three calls in rapid succession prior to his first interview by the SFO in May 2009 in which a person of Asian origin said he and his family would be killed if he spoke to anyone about what had happened.

He is due to resume his evidence today.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Promoted Links

Also in Business