Westpac alleges colourful soccer identity Bill Papas and his company Forum Finance orchestrated more than 100 allegedly fraudulent transactions that siphoned off more than $340 million from the bank over a near three-year period.
The details of the extent of Mr Papas’s fraud were detailed in a statement of claim filed by the bank this week against Mr Papas, his business partner Vincenzo Tesoriero, Forum Finance and its related companies that was obtained by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
The 292-page document details Westpac’s allegations against Mr Papas and his companies. The bank alleges that from September 2019 until June 2021 the Forum entities received $341 million through over 100 transactions.
Sydney-based Forum Finance allegedly used false invoices and forged signatures to obtain Westpac loans without the consent of at least seven of the major bank’s corporate clients. Westpac has pursued legal action to have the company liquidated in the hope of recouping losses.
The Age and Sydney Morning Herald last week revealed that at least $40 million was spent by the Forum directors in Australia on buying luxury property in Melbourne and NSW’s Central Coast, as well as on a portfolio of petrol stations in small Victorian towns.
The Age and Herald have also revealed this week that Westpac believes Mr Papas has vast business interests offshore in Germany, Greece, Singapore and New Zealand and owns property in Greece — including two large apartments overlooking the Aegean Sea — and a race car worth $630,000. Westpac also believes Mr Papas purchased boats and jewellery using its money. Millions more were put into Mr Papas’ Greek soccer team Xanthi FC.
Westpac alleges in its statement of claim that Mr Papas or an associate under his direction created fake documents to secure finance in the names of Westpac’s clients – Scentre, Coles, WesTrac, Veolia, HWL Ebsworth, Catholic Healthcare and Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group.
Westpac said in its claim that each of the 100 transactions were “not genuine” and based on a fiction.
“The Transaction..documents had not been executed by and were not binding… but rather forged by Mr Papas or at Mr Papas’ direction” Westpac alleges.
“There was fraud, dishonesty, misrepresentation and negligence on the part of Forum Finance as the transaction… documents were false and fraudulent.“
Forum, Mr Papas and Mr Tesoriero are subject to freezing orders. Neither the corporate entities, Mr Papas or Mr Tesoriero have had time to file a defence to the claim by Westpac that was filed this week.
The case continues.
Source: Thanks smh.com