Evasive behaviour 'does not make AIB accused guilty'
The “evasive and slippery” actions of two alleged fraudsters does not make them automatically guilty, a judge has told jurors in a London court.
Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams deny defrauding Allied Irish Banks out of £740 million by applying for fake guarantees. The alleged deception was discovered by AIB in autumn 2008, forcing it to sell its portfolio of high-value commercial properties at a much lower rate and resulting in the loss of millions, the bank claims.
Continuing his summing up yesterday, Judge Andrew Goymer told the jurors they had to be sure that Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams obtained loans fraudulently from the bank if they were to find them guilty of two counts of fraud.
“AIB wanted their money. They were asking Mr Kallakis for something like £200 million,” Judge Goymer told Southwark crown court. “No matter how rich you are, that is a large sum of money to find with 24 hours’ notice.
“Mr Kallakis says he was trying to be perfectly constructive. He wanted to refinance these deals to get him and the bank out of the hole they had got in. He said the bank were unreasonable with their demands.
“When AIB put their accountants into Mr Kallakis’s business, he said they were not interested in running the business but stripping its assets.
“Did the bank act hastily? You have to consider whether that is important or beside the point.”
Judge Goymer continued: “Even if you think the reaction of the defendants was evasive and slippery when they were asked to pay up, this does not make them guilty.
“You have to be sure they knew all along that the transactions were a sham and there was never going to be any prospect of being able to help, or that when they realised for the first time that the guarantees were worthless, they reacted with blind panic as there was no way out of the problem.
“Has the prosecution made you sure that Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams obtained loans fraudulently from the bank?
“Were the lenders [AIB] told the truth or not?”
Judge Goymer will continue his summing up today and the jury is expected to begin its deliberations this afternoon.