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Fraudsters Ordered to Pay Back GBP3 Million after Taking GBP766 Million in Loans

Sep 25, 2014
Achilleas Kallakis will serve an additional seven years in jail

Achilleas Kallakis will serve an additional seven years in jail

Achilleas Kallakis will serve an additional seven years in jail unless he returns GBP3 million within six months.

After fooling bankers into loaning him money which he then used to buy property and build a super-yacht, 46-year-old Achilleas Kallakis was sentenced to jail at the beginning of 2013, along with his partner Alexander Williams, who helped him forge financial guarantees.

Now the judge ordered Kallakis to pay back GBP3 million within the next six months. If he fails to do so, he’ll be facing another seven years in prison. His partner in crime Alexander Williams also has three months to return GBP477,000, or else he will be forced to serve a three-year sentence.

Both of them were originally sentenced to jail in January 2013, after the court found them guilty of conspiring to defraud banks through deception and forgery. The biggest victim was AIB.

DailyMail: Poker player who stole £750 million in property fraud to fund millionaire lifestyle of private jets, yachts and luxury villas is ordered to pay back just £3million

A high-rolling poker player who committed a GBP750 million bank fraud so he could fund a luxurious lifestyle for himself has been ordered to pay back just GBP3 million of that money. Achilleas Kallakis, 46, conned two banks into advancing huge loans so he could purchase 16 landmark properties in the UK.

The buildings bought by Kallakis, the nephew of a Greek shipping magnate, included the GBP225 million London headquarters of the Daily Telegraph, as well as a GBP100 million Home Office building located in Croydon.

Known for his impressive poker results after winning $1 million in one game, Kallakis teamed up with “prolific forger” Alexander Williams, also 46, in his scheme to defraud two major banks: the Allied Irish Bank (AIB) and the Bank of Scotland.

The pair operated out of an office in Mayfair, calling themselves the Pacific Group of Companies. Lenders were tricked into advancing loans totaling GBP766 million, all backed by forged or false documents.

Using the money he got conning banks, The Don then spent millions of pounds on an extravagant lifestyle. The man claimed to be a San Marino ambassador and called himself “his Excellency”. He spent GBP27 million on a private jet, bought a helicopter worth GBP5.2 million, owned a yacht moored in Monaco, a fleet of chauffeur-driven Bentleys, as well as a villa in Mykonos.

Last year, the man was finally convicted of two counts of conspiracy to defraud banks and sent to prison to serve a seven-year sentence, but now he was ordered to pay just GBP3.25 million of the money he got his hands on. If he doesn’t return it within six months, he will serve a default sentence of seven years.

Irish Times: AIB fraudster told to pay £3.25m or face seven more years in jail

After being convicted and sentenced for defrauding AIB and Bank of Scotland for GBP61 million (EUR77.9 million) in 2012, two fraudsters have been ordered to return a total of GBP3.7 million (EUR4.7 million) by Southwark Crown Court judge.

His Hon Judge Andrew Goymer ruled that Greek businessman Achilleas Kallakis has to return GBP3.25 million within the next six months, or he’ll have to serve another seven years in jail. His partner Alexander Williams also has six months to pay back GBP477,000 (EUR610,000), otherwise he’ll be spending another three years in jail, on top of his current sentence.

In a statement published in Britain’s latest gambling news, Serious Fraud Office (SFO) chief Mark Thompson told reporters: “The SFO is committed to ensuring fraudsters do not retain the benefit of their crimes. We will take steps to make sure the order is satisfied but if he does not pay, he faces a further lengthy term of imprisonment.”

The confiscated money is supposed to go to Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service, which will then distribute it in accordance with orders issued by judges. The victims may also receive part of it as compensation.

During the trial, the SFO said: “This was an audacious, persistent fraud that enabled these defendants, Mr Kallakis in particular, to lead the lifestyle of the super-rich.”

Independent.ie: Judge brands AIB ‘careless’ as EUR920m fraudsters jailed

In January 2013, the judge handling the case of Achilleas Kallakis sharply criticized AIB for its practices during the boom. The judge said bank employees acted “carelessly and imprudently” when they decided to lend the fraudster money. Both Kallakis and his partner were jailed for the fraud they committed. Damages added up to EUR920 million.

The Greek businessman was sentenced to seven years in prison and Alex Williams was handed a five years sentence. The pair was found guilty of orchestrating a fraud in which fake documentation was used to obtain bank loans. The money was used to purchase a number of high-end properties across the UK.

The pair was found guilty by a unanimous verdict of the jury of conspiracy to commit fraud related to the loans, which were taken out between 2003 and 2008, mainly from AIB but also from Bank of Scotland. Judge Andrew Goymer said they had taken advantage of the lax standards in place at that time, but he added that bankers failed to act responsibly. The fraud was discovered five years after the first of 16 loans was approved by AIB.

The judge said: “The two banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland, have undoubtedly acted carelessly and imprudently by failing to make full inquiries before advancing the money. It is, however, quite apparent that both defendants took full advantage of the prevailing banking culture in which corners were cut and checks on applications were superficial and cursory.”

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Ladbrokes pushes its online operations as land-based revenue falls

May 17, 2010
Ladbrokes Online Sportsbook

Due in part to the recent economic downturn, but also to bad weather across the UK this winter, Ladbrokes has seen first quarter profits at its high street betting shops down several percent. Online, however, things are looking promising, especially after the group cut costs by moving its online operations to Gibraltar.

Telegraph: Ladbrokes revenue dips as cautious punters stake less cash

Ladbrokes last week revealed that revenue has slipped 6% year on year, with a 10% drop in the amount of money staked by customers.

The sportsbook said that over-the-counter revenue at its land-based betting shops saw a huge drop in January due to bad weather, falling a full 17%. In the months following, trends slowly improved with April revenue down only 7%.

Sports betting is often considered to be a recession-proof businesses, but many struggled during the recent economic downturn. The latest updates from other high street bookmakers like Paddy Power and William Hill have fortunately been more promising.

Ladbrokes’ new chief executive Richard Glynn said the current economic climate is still “challenging” and UK consumers are not as confident in their spending as they were a few years ago.

Despite this recent drop in revenues, Ladbrokes saw operating profits rice 3pc in the first quarter of 2010, thanks in large part to the group’s move to the tax haven of Gibraltar last year.

Ladbrokes finance director Brian Wallace said he has plans to save the company around £8m a year.

Guardian: Ladbrokes shares slip as punters stay away

UK bookmakers have been struggling more than expected during the recent economic slump recession, but the latest reports from William Hill and Paddy Power are showing signs of picking up. Ladbrokes, however, said last week that numbers are dropping in their books, with the amount of bets placed in its high street shops continuing to decline.

First quarter net revenue at Ladbrokes has fallen 6%, with UK retail revenue down 11%. Over the counter revenue dropped by 10%. Its online sports betting business is also seeing a slump, mostly due to unexpectedly poor performance from their poker and casino offerings.

Newly appointed Ladbrokes chief executive Richard Glyn said, “The economic environment remains challenging and the strength of UK consumer confidence post the election is difficult to gauge. However group profitability year to date has been broadly in line with expectations.”

Irish Times: Operating profit rises at Ladbrokes

UK bookmaker Ladbrokes reported a 3% rise in four-month operating profits, thanks to its recent strategy of moving its online sports betting headquarters to the gambling tax haven of Gibraltar.

The move introduced several expense reductions which have helped to offset a recent drop in revenue at Ladbrokes’ UK betting shops, which is down 6% over the last four months.

The company also revealed that their net debt had fallen by £179 million, thanks to a £515 million settlement it recently received from a tax dispute.

Ladbrokes’ latest strategy is to bring more attention to its online sportsbook, to make up for the drop in sales at its land-based betting shops. After moving their online betting unit to Gibraltar last year, the company expects to save about £8 million annually.

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