London, June 9 (ANI): Three British businessmen duped people by offering The Ritz Hotel on sale for 250 million pounds, a British court has heard.
Southwark Crown Court was told that Conn Farrell, Patrick Dolan and Anthony Lee, all of whom were in no position to sell the world famous property, carefully chose victims interested in the deal.
Farrell, 57, a solicitor, Dolan, 68, a retired construction company contracts manager, and Lee, 49, a lorry driver, all deny conspiracy to defraud.
The trio is accused of defrauding Terence Collins and Marcel Boerkhoorn by falsely projecting that Dolan and Lee could procure the sale of The Ritz between January 1, 2006, and March 30, 2007.
Lee and Dolan pretended that they had the ability to arrange the sale of The Ritz, while Farrell is accused of acting as their solicitor.
"As the negotiations progressed, they sucked their victims in with more false promises and frustrated them with unnecessary requests until they managed to extract from them a payment of #1 million," The Times quoted Anuja Dhir, QC, for the prosecution, as saying.
"In that competitive world of secret multimillion-pound deals, some people are prepared to take risks that might seem breathtaking to most of us,"she added.
"Millions of pounds can be made and lost on transactions for trophy properties like The Ritz," she said.
"What sets this transaction apart from most is that it was all based on one great big lie," the report quoted her, as saying.
The men are said to have told their victims they knew the Barclay brothers and could buy the hotel and casino for just 200 million pounds.
They claimed they would then sell it on to Collins's firm, London Allied, for 250 million pounds.
Dhir said this would have been "a very attractive proposition" since it grossly undervalued The Ritz, which would have been worth anything between 450-600 million pounds at the time.
She added: "The deal that sounded too good to be true was a complete fantasy."
Sir Frederick Barclay, the co-owner of the Piccadilly hotel, is expected to testify in the trial. (ANI)