Court told AIB did not check man's background
An alleged fraudster claimed yesterday that AIB never asked him for background information despite lending him €740 million.
Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams are accused of defrauding the bank by using fake guarantees to secure loans for a host of upmarket properties. They deny the charges.
Giving evidence at Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday, Mr Kallakis (44) claimed AIB staff did not ask him for any background information, despite claiming they had met once a week at the height of their dealings.
He said that between 2003 and 2006, deals with AIB were coming “thick and thin” and that he was seeing AIB executives “at least once a week”.
George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Mr Kallakis, asked him if he was aware of AIB documents describing him as the “principal” in their transactions.
Mr Kallakis has repeated insistently in testimony that he was a mere adviser to the Hermitage Syndicated Trust which was responsible for the loans and benefited only his children.
Mr Kallakis answered: “No, because they had all the details about my principal being the beneficiaries of the trust.”
He also denied he had a “formal legal agreement” with Sun Hung Kai Properties, the large Hong Kong property company said to have supplied allegedly fake guarantees.
“They asked if we had an agreement and I told them we had an informal agreement.”
Mr Kallakis said his AIB relationship manager Mike Cooke had asked for a meeting with an SHKP representative some time around December 2007.
Mr Cooke’s attitude had given him the impression the meeting was a “box-ticking exercise”, he said, adding: “The phrase he [Mr Cooke] used was that it was just one of those things that had to be done and finished with.”
Having arranged the meeting with a man said to have been SHKP treasury boss Jonathan Lee, Mr Kallakis told jurors he had been unable to attend at short notice after his daughter’s headmistress “collared” him for a meeting.
Mr Carter-Stephenson noted there was a reference at the bottom of document relating to the amending of a planned loan for an office block in Croydon in 2005 to not jeopardising the transaction or relationship with Mr Kallakis.
The trial continues.