Kallakis hosted royalty at €40m Mayfair home
An alleged fraudster accused of illegally acquiring £750 million in property loans hosted the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles at one of his lavishly refurbished buildings, a court heard yesterday.
Achilleas Kallakis mixed with royalty at an opulent Mayfair house, the court heard.
He and co-defendant Alexander Williams are accused of defrauding Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Scotland of more than £750 million in loans said to have been obtained using fake guarantees.
The Grosvenor Square property, once the UK headquarters of cosmetics giant Revlon, was converted into a “spectacular” house that attracted plaudits from conservation groups, jurors heard. It was bought in 2003 for £6 million and sold in 2008 for £40 million, the court heard.
This led to the Hermitage Syndicated Trust, which bought the property and was allegedly advised by Mr Kallakis, becoming a donor to the Prince’s Trust.
George Carter-Stephenson QC told jurors how the visit of Ms Parker Bowles at the time helped establish a connection between Mr Kallakis and Prince Charles after the trust advised by the alleged fraudster donated at least £75,000 to the Prince’s Trust.
Mr Carter-Stephenson spoke of how this led to a written “acknowledgement of support” and a meeting between Prince Charles and Mr Kallakis which saw the pair photographed together.
Mr Kallakis told jurors of how he had “really sweated blood” over refitting the house. Later the court was also shown a snap of Mr Kallakis with ex-prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Asked by Mr Carter-Stephenson if she was “someone you knew”, Mr Kallakis said “Yes”.
Mr llakis also told jurors of his concerns at using guarantees from Hong Kong-based property firm SHKP amid fears this could lead to a repayment default. Speaking of the guarantees, which are alleged to be fake, he said: “As a trust we had to be absolutely certain with this overseas company we don’t really know. They are a business in Hong Kong – we didn’t want to default on the bank repayments.”
He claimed SHKP had wanted to keep quiet about their alleged alliance for political reasons after Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
“The Chinese authorities were not keen on the big established businesses on the Hong Kong stock exchange doing business in the UK,” he said.
Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams deny conspiracy to defraud, forgery, fraud by false representation, money-laundering and obtaining a money transfer by deception.