Son of Greek Poker Player Jailed for Fraud Sues Irish Lender for Fraud

Posted on: June 14, 2023, 07:47h. 

Last updated on: June 14, 2023, 11:41h.

The son of a Greek real estate investor and poker player is suing a financial institution for fraud, the same crime for which his father is now serving time in prison. It’s a story that began over 10 years ago, but which doesn’t seem to want to disappear.

Fraudster and part-time poker player Achilleas Kallakis making a court appearance
Fraudster and part-time poker player Achilleas Kallakis making a court appearance. His son is suing a bank that lent his father money for fraud. (Image: PA Media)

54-year-old Achilleas Kallakis was a regular fixture on the European poker circuit for years. He convinced people to start calling him “The Don” as he played, ultimately earning around $320K, according to Hendon Mob.

Away from the felt, Kallakis was playing a different kind of game. He convinced financial institutions to lend him about $1.2 billion that he told them would expand his real estate development portfolio.

Instead, he used the money to finance a luxury lifestyle, leading to a conviction on fraud charges in 2013. One of the lenders seized his assets to pay off his debt. But Michalis Kallakis, his son, doesn’t like how the lender managed the sale, and is taking it to court.

Defrauding the Fraudster

Allied Irish Bank (AIB), which gave the elder Kallakis £740 million (€935.8 million), is the defendant in the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg. The 25-year-old Michalis accuses it of mishandling the assets it seized to recover its losses following his father’s conviction.

Specifically, the court documents indicate that the younger Kallakis accuses the bank of “unlawfully” seizing the assets, including real estate, Bentleys, and more. It then sold them for around $378.24 million under their market value.

The belief that the lender had an obligation to sell to the highest bidder is a fallacy, and even Kallakis’ defense team seems to be uncertain about the seriousness of the suit. Although it was apparently trying to make a real point, it conjured comic visions to support its case.

In a statement included in the filing, the lawyers asserted that the elder Kallakis is “particularly vulnerable to being deceived.” His expertise as a “professional fraudster” makes him an easy target.

The legal team used as their example the movie Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. In it, the pair of fraudsters ultimately fall for a fraud themselves. But the slapstick comedy highlights the absurdity of their lifestyle.

As would be expected, AIB’s lawyers call the allegations “absurd” and “baseless.” They assert that Achilleas and his son are conspiring to squeeze more money out of the bank.

“It is beyond understanding” that the bank should have to defend itself, they said in their response to the lawsuit. “The idea that the victim of the fraud could somehow find itself in the dock — criticized by the fraudster for [the] manner in which it sought to mitigate the losses to which it was exposed by reason of fraud is beyond fiction.”

Nice Run While it Lasted

Achilleas Kallakis was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2013 for defrauding the bank. He and a partner, Alexander M. Williams, used the money to buy real estate, a yacht they kept in Monaco, luxury cars, and artwork. They also routinely traveled by helicopters and private jets.

That sentencing came four years after Kallakis’ arrest, and 10 years after his crime spree began. In March 2009, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) raided Kallakis’ offices on suspicion of fraud. They confirmed those suspicions when they found real estate contracts that had been altered to impress the banks.

The fraud found that companies linked to Kallakis presented lease contracts with rents that were higher than the actual amounts and for longer periods than the actual terms. At the time, Kallakis was reportedly the 11th-richest man in Greece, but was living in London, since most of his real estate was in the UK. He also had property in Singapore and Malaysia.

Earlier this year, the father-and-son duo were still making headlines in relation to the case. In 2005, Kallakis donated money to an independent school an unidentified family member attended. The £250,000 (US$316,450) he gave became the school’s “Kallakis Theatre.”

After the fraud case broke, the school removed all traces of the Kallakis family. This didn’t sit well with Michalis, who sued for breach of contract in 2020. He and the school settled out of court the following year, with Michalis receiving around £92,500 (US$117,086), but no rights to the theater name.

When the SFO learned of the arrangement, it went after the Kallakis duo once more. It filed an injunction in court this past February, and a judge ordered the money returned to the school a month later.