A plot to sell the Ritz hotelin London for the bargain price of £250m was a scam which involved targeting people interested in the high-stakes world of dealing in trophy properties, Southwark Crown Court has heard.
Solicitor Colin Farrell, 57, retired company contracts manager Patrick Dolan, 68, and lorry driver Anthony Lee, 49, appeared in court today at the start of a four-week trial charged with conspiracy to defraud. All three men deny the charge.
The court was told that the defendants defrauded Terence Collins and Marcel Boerkhoorn by falsely representing that Dolan and Lee were in a position to procure the sale of the hotel between 1 January 2006 and 30 March 2007.
The accused trio claimed to their victims they knew the billionaire brothers Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, the owners of the Ritz, and could buy the hotel and adjacent casino for £200m. They said they would then sell the hotel on to Collins' firm, London Allied, for £250m.
The court heard that the actual value of the hotel at the time was between £450m and £600m.
The trial continues.
By Janet Harmer
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