Fraudster ordered to hand over returned donation he made to independent school

A disgraced property tycoon must hand over £92,500 after a donation he made to a leading independent girls’ school was returned when he was jailed for fraud.

Francis Holland School, which was attended by actress Sienna Miller, 41, and model Cara Delevingne, 30, named its theatre after Achilleas Kallakis, 54, following his £250,000 gift in 2005.

However, the Church of England School, in Sloane Square in central London, which charges fees of more than £21,000 a year, removed the plaque and returned £92,500 of the donation after he was jailed over Britain’s biggest ever mortgage scam in 2013.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the returned donation represented the proceeds of crime and applied to seize the money at a confiscation hearing at Southwark Crown Court.

Kallakis, who was known as “The Don” in high-stakes games on the international poker circuit, claimed he did not have an interest in the money, which he said was paid by the family trust.

Judge Tony Baumgartner on Friday granted the SFO’s application and said Kallakis, who was not in court, must pay £92,500 within 28 days or face a year in prison.

The Francis Holland School in Regent’s Park, central London (Alamy/PA)
The Francis Holland School in Regent’s Park, central London (Alamy/PA)

“I am satisfied that the donation to the school came from the surplus monies of the fraud committed by the defendant and his co-conspirators,” he said in a written judgment.

Kallakis and co-defendant Alex Williams were jailed for seven years – later increased to 11 – after being found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to defraud in 2013.

The pair had both changed their names after pleading guilty to forgery in 1995 after making £85,000 by selling people from America and the Middle East forged aristocratic titles, claiming they owned ancient rights dating to the Domesday Book of 1086.

They duped banks out of more than £740 million between 2003 and 2008 in the sophisticated property and luxury yacht scam.

The money was used to fund the lifestyle of the super-rich in which he maintained a fleet of chauffeur-driven Bentleys, a private plane, a private helicopter, a luxury yacht moored in Monaco harbour and a collection of high-value artworks.

Following his 2013 convictions, Kallakis was found to have a “criminal lifestyle” and to have benefited from the scam to the tune of £95 million.

He was ordered to pay £3.25 million based on his available assets, which at the time included a half share in the £4.5 million family home in Brompton Square, Knightsbridge.

Other assets, nominally valued at zero, were a multimillion-pound villa in Mykonos, Greece, containing an Andy Warhol dollar sign artwork, and a £250,000 Queen’s Club debenture.

The Sandman premiere
Actress Sienna Miller attended the Francis Holland School (Ian West/PA)

Kallakis satisfied the confiscation order in 2015 but the SFO brought him back to court for the money returned by the school, which was attended by his daughter Erinoula at the time of the donation.

The “Kallakis Theatre” was named in his honour after he “negotiated the terms of the donation” with the headmistress and bursar, said Christopher Convey, representing the SFO.

Payments of £75,000 and £175,000 were made in 2005 from his Swiss bank account into the school’s account in the Channel Islands.

In June 2020, Kallakis’s son Michalis launched a civil action in the High Court following the removal of the family name from the theatre and in July 2021 a settlement was reached for the school to pay £104,500 – including £12,000 in costs.

SFO director Lisa Osofsky said: “Today’s ruling demonstrates our determination to go after fraudsters, no matter when they committed a crime or where they hide their assets.

“In the last two years alone, we have recovered 100% of the funds we have gone after – almost £140 million in proceeds of crime – including from cases a decade after prosecution like Kallakis.”