The Queen’s Club main grandstand. Picture: Benjamin Liebald
November 27, 2023
The Queen’s Club has been forced to return an investment of a quarter of a million pounds after it emerged the money came from the proceeds of fraud.
The prestigious tennis club in west London was not aware that when 54-year-old Achilleas Kallakis purchased one of its debentures he had participated in the largest ever mortgage fraud committed in this country.
At a hearing held last week at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Tony Baumgartner determined that the investment was part of a £740 million scam committed by property dealer Kallakis against the Royal Bank of Scotland and other banks. As part of the fraud, he made a minor change to his name in the documents and claimed to be related to an oil property tycoon.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had identified the source of the funds after forensic examination of a chain of offshore accounts and a family trust.
The purchase of the debenture in 2007 allowed Kallakis to have his name display on a board of notable members in the club’s reception. It also gave him club membership and tickets to the annual men’s tennis championship held at the club in the run up to Wimbledon.
The ruling means the money can be recovered and added to Mr Kallakis’ original confiscation order.
Kallakis and co-conspirator Alexander Williams used forged documents to purchase a string of properties including homes in Belgravia and Knightsbridge and the headquarters of the Daily Telegraph on Buckingham Palace Road in Victora. They were lent the money by the bank despite both having a previous prosecution for fraud in 1995 when they convicted of selling bogus manorial titles to Americans.
The mortgage fraud generated enough money to buy a string of classic race cars and be a regular face at London’s top casinos and played in high stakes poker games under the name of ‘The Don’. It was only when a German bank did due diligence into loans that were being offer to it for sale that the fraud was discovered.
Achilleas Kallakis. Picture: Facebook
Following his conviction, Kallakis was jailed for seven years and five months and he was subject to a confiscation order which so far has reclaimed £3.5million from him. The investigation into the proceeds of his crime continues and the Francis Holland School near Sloane Square has also been required to give back a £92,000 donation he made to it.
SFO director Nick Ephgrave said, ‘We have put a stop to another attempt by Mr Kallakis to conceal the proceeds of his crime and launder his tarnished reputation. The SFO will continue to pursue criminals, no matter how long ago they were convicted or where they try to hide their assets, to ensure they don’t profit from their crimes.’
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