UK judge slams banks defrauded by fake tycoon
"The two banks, Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Scotland, have undoubtedly acted carelessly and imprudently by failing to make full enquiries before advancing the money," said judge Andrew Goymer as he sentenced Achilleas Kallakis, 44.
Kallakis was convicted by a jury at London's Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday of two counts of conspiracy to defraud, in one of Britain's biggest-ever property scams.
Co-defendant Alexander Williams, 44, was convicted of the same counts for his role in producing forged documents to back up Kallakis's applications for loans. Judge Goymer sentenced him to five years in jail.
"Both defendants took full advantage of the prevailing banking culture in which corners were cut and checks on applications were superficial and cursory," the judge said.
The case stems from a series of loans worth a total of 740 million pounds secured by the fraudsters from Allied Irish Banks Plc between 2003 and 2008.
Lax paperwork and weak background checks were hallmarks of Irish banking before the country's property bubble burst in 2008. Banks competed with each other to attract real-estate developers and often relied on personal guarantees to lend them individual loans running to hundreds of millions of euros.
The property binge precipitated Ireland's financial crisis and eventual EU-IMF bailout.
The conviction of Kallakis and Williams is a success for Britain's cash-strapped
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