Kallakis blames Icelandic crisis for default
AN ALLEGED fraudster, who took out a €29 million loan to build a superyacht, claimed the Icelandic banking crisis left him unable to pay back the money, a court heard.
Achilleas Kallakis (44) took out the loan from the Bank of Scotland to convert a passenger ferry into a superyacht, jurors were told.
Bank of Scotland officials told the court they considered lending such a large sum to an individual “unusual”. However, they were persuaded to do so by Mr Kallakis’ claimed family wealth and guarantees from Oregon, a large, allegedly fake, multi-billion pound shipping corporation, it was said.
Mr Kallakis, and co-defendant Alexander Williams (44), missed a loan repayment in September 2008, claiming this was because Oregon had about $200 million tied up in failed Icelandic bank Kauphing, Southwark Crown Court heard.
Paul Stirrat, who worked as a transaction manager at Bank of Scotland at the time said Mr Kallakis seemed reluctant to disclose too much about certain aspects of his finances, instead referring him to a letter written by his legal adviser Michael Becker.
Mr Stirrat said: “He insisted we had sufficient information provided by the Becker letter. [He said] they were private but not secretive. We had his CV.”
Asked what he understood the loan to be for, Mr Stirrat said: “It was for the refit or conversion of a ferry to a superyacht.”
He said Mr Kallakis’ alleged right-hand man, Mr Williams, became “more difficult to contact” when problems emerged.
Asked by prosecutor Victor Temple QC what Mr Williams had said to him, Mr Stirrat answered: “They had experienced a short term cash-flow problem and were in the process of relieving it.” Mr Temple then asked if there had been any further information, to which Mr Stirrat added: “Not at the early stages, but later on they said he had been having trouble with an Icelandic bank. It was caused by the fall of an Icelandic bank.” Asked if he’d been given a figure by Mr Williams, Mr Stirrat said: “$200 million is what they had with Kauphing as a deposit.”
Mr Stirrat told jurors “the transaction would never have proceeded” had he known that documents given to him purporting to show the assets of Oregon and Mr Kallakis were fake, as is alleged.
In a witness statement read to jurors, former HBOS asset finance manager Lindsay Town called the loan to Mr Kallakis “unusual” and underlined the importance of the Oregon guarantee.
She said: “The guarantee was important in that it appeared to link into the family wealth, which had value. Without the guarantee from Oregon finance corporation the deal would have needed significantly more work.”
Mr Kallakis and Mr Williams face further allegations that they defrauded Allied Irish Bank out of £740 million to buy various properties using fake guarantees. Both deny two counts of conspiracy to defraud, 13 counts of forgery, five counts of fraud by false representation, two counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception.
The trial continues.