A Greek sports publication, Thraki Sports, reported that alleged fraudster Bill Papas told Greek football authorities on Monday that he was still the owner of Xanthi Football Club, contradicting the evidence he had presented before an Australian federal court that he had sold his stake in the company that owned the club.
The Australian newspapers, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald drew on a Thraki Sports article that reported the Greek Committee for Professional Sports had held a meeting on Monday with Mr Papas in response to a complaint it had received from Westpac, one of the banks accusing Mr Papas of fraud.
According to Thraki Sports, Mr Papas told the committee that he remained the owner of Mazcon the company owned Xanthi FC and that statements he had made in a civil case in a foreign country did not mean that they were true.
Last year in an affidavit to the court that outlined his assets, Mr Papas said that he no longer owned shares in Mazcon. Westpac said in court that Greek business records showed that Mr Papas remained a 99-per-cent owner of the football club.
In August, last year, Greek lawyer Alexis Kougias, the owner of another Greek football team filed a complaint with the Greek Money Laundering Commission alleging that Mr Papas had used Xannthi to “launder” $15 million in funds taken from Westpac.
The two Australian newspapers reported that a member of the Westpac legal team in Greece had attended the meeting with the Greek authorities. They also reported that according to documents tabled in the court in Australia, Mazcon had received fraudulent funds worth $16.5 million and Xanthi FC had capital of around $15 million as well as owning properties worth $3.8million.
Westpac along with the French Société Generale and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation of Japan have alleged that Mr Papas through his company Forum Finance, which is at the centre of $500 million fraud allegations, forged signatures of the banks’ top clients to obtain funds.
Mr Papas left Australia for Greece in June 2021 before the allegations against him were made public.
Since then he had failed to return to Australia to face the charges levelled against him citing lack of funds, COVID-19 and psychological stress.
Australian Federal Court Justice Michael Lee froze Mr Papas’ assets. The banks alleged that Mr Papas poured millions of dollars into Xanthi FC as part of the fraudulent actions he committed.
Liquidators from McGrathNicol have recouped money from the sale of Forum Finance assets and other companies linked to Mr Papas. The liquidators have also sold for $4.4 million a home in Rozelle that was owned by Mr Papas and business partner Vince Tesoriero.
The two Australian newspapers also reported that agents were looking to sell Mr Papas’ two luxury homes on the Central Coast of New South Wales and that these were expected to sell for $12 million and $9 million respectively.