THE former owner of Liverpool’s historic India Buildings “grossly mismanaged” it while conducting one of the UK’s biggest-ever frauds.
Achilleas Kallakis and Alexander Williams, both 44 and from London, tried to defraud Allied Irish Banks (AIB) out of £740m and Bank of Scotland, as it was known, of £22m between August 2003 and November 2008.
The offences were carried out over five years and funded property and luxury yacht scams.
Kallakis, the “prime mover”, was jailed for seven years and Williams for five years.
Kallakis and Williams operated out of their office as the Pacific Group of Companies and defrauded AIB by using forged or false documents or claims in order to obtain substantial loans to finance the purchase of what were mostly commercial properties.
Their Pacific Group bought India Buildings, in Water Street, in January 2004 from offshore company Elan Investments.
The £45m purchase – then the city’s biggest-ever property transaction – was financed by Allied Irish.
Such was the secrecy which surrounded the deal that rumours swirled around India Buildings that he had won it in a card game, according to antiques dealer Wayne Colquhoun, who has a shop in the ground floor.
During the trial the jury was told how Kallakis used the proceeds of his fraud to fund a super-rich lifestyle in which he maintained a fleet of chauffeur-driven Bentleys, a private plane, a private helicopter, a luxury yacht moored in Monaco harbour and a collection of high-
When Kallakis took over the running of India Buildings 3,250 people worked in the property. Today that number stands at around 400.
A source close to the court case said Kallakis’ company Atlas Management had “grossly mismanaged” the building, leading to the drop in the number of tenants.
In 2008 tenants were left without lifts for about a fortnight after a row between Atlas and an electricity company.
The transactions were structured in a way so the bank loans exceeded the purchase price of the properties using a guarantee from a well-established Hong Kong company, Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd (SHK), which knew nothing about the guarantees because they were forged by the defendants.