Director denies forging names of accountants
A company director yesterday denied in a London court forging signatures on accounts to dupe banks including AIB into lending him more than £750 million (€922 million).
Alexander Williams (44) was accused in court of producing a series of deceptive financial statements for Oregon Finance Corporation (OFC).
He and co-defendant Achilleas Kallakis are accused of borrowing £740 million (€909 million) from AIB and €29 million from Bank of Scotland on the back of fake guarantees. Some of these are said to have been backed by OFC, which falsely claimed to hold valuable assets, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Under cross-examination yesterday, Williams was accused of fraudulently signing off some OFC financial statements and falsifying the numbers on others.
Asking about OFC accounts sent to AIB and Bank of Scotland, prosecutor Annabel Darlow asked: “You just played around with numbers: it’s as simple as that?”
“Yes, numbers are being played around with, conversions are being made, but the reason for this is that is what is involved in dealing with accounts,” Mr Williams said.
He was asked why the word “corporation” had been misspelt “corportion” on accounts apparently signed by three different accountants: John Taylor, John Papas and Alexander Goldfarb.
Ms Darlow asked whether the court could “disregard the names at the bottom of these documents because the author in each case was you”.
He replied: “The signature at the bottom was the accountant who signed these documents.”
Ms Darlow suggested he had “manipulated” the profit and loss accounts to create different versions of them.
He replied: “I would give [the accountants] some information and they would then put together their versions of accounts. I would try to take their figures and put them in some kind of spreadsheet so it would look look presentable.”
Mr Williams was then asked about documents that seemed to show Mr Papas and Mr Goldfarb were both OFC’s chief group accountant on the same day in October 2007. Mr Williams said the Goldfarb document was not correct.
Ms Darlow reminded jurors and Mr Williams of Mr Goldfarb’s earlier claims that he had worked as a temp for Mr Williams but that he had neither been chief accountant nor signed his name on the documents in question.
Mr Williams was also asked about an OFC financial statement that had shown more than $400 million in one column and $41 million in another column, which was hidden.
Mr Williams told jurors one of the columns had intended to show Japanese yen. He said the spreadsheet was an internal document and denied it had been intended to deceive lenders as to Oregon’s value.
Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams both deny conspiracy to defraud, forgery, fraud by false representation, money laundering and obtaining a money transfer by deception.
The trial continues.