Mayfair property tycoon found guilty of massive loans fraud

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TWO men who posed as wealthy Mayfair property buyers to secure almost £800m in loans have been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud, in a long-awaited successful prosecution for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Achilleas Michaelis Kallakis and his associate Alexander Martin Williams used fake guarantees claiming to be from Hong Kong property firm SHKP to persuade Allied Irish Banks to provide loans to buy real estate valued at £740m.

The headquarters of the Daily Telegraph and several properties in St James’s Square, Mayfair were among the properties Kallakis bought between 2003 and 2008.

He also used the cash to pay for a fleet of chauffer-driven Bentleys, a private plane and an art collection.

The pair also conned Bank of Scotland into agreeing a €29m (£24m) loan to convert a passenger ferry into a superyacht, the SFO said yesterday. The ferry on which the loan was secured turned out to be a wreck, riddled with asbestos and leaking water. The bank raised concerns after it had advanced €5.7m. The SFO worked with the City of London Police to bring charges in February 2010. The pair will be sentenced today.