“Never heard of the company”
Attempts to contact Mr Papas and Ms Agostino of Greece and Australia on Friday yielded no response. Nothing was found at the head office of Mr Papas’ investment vehicle, Mazcon Investments Hella IKE, and the doorman of a neighboring building had never heard of the company.
Residents said Mr Papas would frequent a cafe near his apartment for coffee, usually around 3:30 p.m.
As Westpac and foreign lenders Sumitomo and Societe Generale track down nearly $ 400 million in missing funds, Papas, 49, has been locked in one of the apartments.
It was not clear until now exactly where Mr. Papas was. His lawyer told the court that Mr Papas refused to identify his whereabouts in Greece.
His lawyer later told the court that Mr Papas had contracted COVID-19, which prevented him from returning to Australia two weeks ago to deal with the allegations against him and various entities within his Forum Group. of Companies.
Mr. Papas is no longer isolated, his Federal Court lawyer said Thursday, after testing positive for COVID-19 on July 8.
The properties are held in the investment vehicle Mazcon Investments Hella IKE, of which it owns 99%. The remaining 1% belongs to a man named Anastasios Giamouridis, according to documents seen by AFR weekend.
Mr Papas’ investment vehicle also owns the Greek second division team Xanthi FC, based in the town of Xanthi, 200 kilometers west of Thessaloniki. Westpac alleges, in court documents, that the $ 4.4 million funds used to buy the club in August 2020 most likely came from their deposit in Forum Finance, which was then transferred to another Forum Group Financial Services company.
Westpac said in court documents that he was unable to identify the portion of his funds received by Mr Papas himself, but was paid $ 2.35 million from an entity which it claims received funds fraudulently obtained from Westpac.
The bank said Papas had benefited from more than $ 15 million paid by Westpac through 100 transactions that it said were fraudulent because funds were funneled to Mazcon. Information in court documents filed by Westpac suggests that the apartment Mr Papas frequents was likely financed with money originally provided by the bank.
Race cars, boats and jewelry
Westpac, in his statement, described more than $ 35 million spent on 14 properties from April 2018 to December 2020, and owned by entities Mr. Papas controls with Vince Tesoriero, who is also named as a defendant in the action in justice.
The bank has also tracked funds diverted to offshore companies in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to the Greek-domiciled entity that owns the apartments and the 94.4% stake in Xanthi FC. The money was also said to have been used to buy racing cars, boats and jewelry.
Mr Papas, also known as Basile Papidimitriou, left Australia at the end of June, shortly after Westpac was suspected of loaning $ 285 million to his company Forum Finance, on the basis of fraudulent invoices. But the details of his whereabouts have remained vague.
In Westpac’s statement filed in Federal Court on Wednesday, Mr. Papas was described as “currently located overseas in an unknown location”.
In fact, Mr Papas’ location has been a mystery since June 15, when he failed to show up for a meeting in Perth with Seven-owned WesTrac Holdings. Associates said Mr Papas missed the meeting due to a health issue and instead went to a city hospital.
A call between WesTrac and Westpac two weeks earlier had sparked a chain of events that led to the discovery of the alleged fraud and a confrontation with Mr Papas, according to court documents.
Westpac had assumed that the funds it provided to Forum were finance leases to creditworthy clients such as Coles, Woolworths and Veolia. But these clients said the leases did not exist and the invoices were fraudulent. Soon, other banks such as Société Générale and Japanese lender Sumitomo established that they were also victims of the alleged fraud.
Mr Papas’ lawyer told Federal Court earlier this month that Mr Papas was in Greece and had signaled his intention to return to Australia, citing a screenshot of a cell phone from a Japan Airways flight and a connection with Ms. Agostino.
Mr. Papas is named as a defendant in a Westpac claim alleging that he forged documents or forged documents on 100 occasions, resulting in a shortfall of $ 285 million.
But Federal Court Judge Michael Lee is increasingly frustrated by Mr. Papas’ failure to comply with court orders, issued and amended four times, forcing Mr. Papas to itemize his assets.
“I do not issue orders on the grounds that they can be treated as traffic lights in Athens,” Judge Lee said in court last week, with Mr Papas’ attorneys confirming that he did had not returned to Australia as previously stated.
Judge Lee told Papas’ attorney Jim Johnson on Thursday that his client is expected to file an affidavit detailing his assets by July 28.
“I won’t allow it to go any further. He is in a totally unsatisfactory state, ”Judge Lee said, demanding that the orders be complied with by the next hearing.
Mr Johnson told the court that Mr Papas was unable to fulfill the orders in part because he had “limited ability to access larger documents”, and efforts were being made to create a Dropbox file sharing account.
Mr. Papas goes by several names across Australia and Greece, including Bill Pope, Basile Papadimitriou and Vassilis Papadimitriou. He was well known in Sydney football circles as chairman of the Sydney Olympic Football Club, from which he resigned on July 2 when Westpac’s allegations became public.
Its Forum Group business activity had grown rapidly since its inception in 2011, but the alleged fraud plunged companies into chaos. On Thursday, volunteer directors announced that Forum Group, the operating unit within the Forum group of companies, had been sold to Our Kloud, a company owned by Mr Papas’ cousin, Eric Constantinidis.