London

Ritz hotel fraud accused branded crooks by financier

Patrick Dolan (l) and Conn Farrell
Image caption Patrick Dolan and Conn Farrell deny conspiracy to defraud

Three men on trial accused of trying to sell the Ritz hotel in a £250m scam have been called crooks by one of the financiers they allegedly targeted.

Despite not owning the central London hotel, Conn Farrell, 57, Patrick Dolan, 68, and Anthony Lee, 49, tried to sell it, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

The trio deny defrauding Terence Collins and Marcel Boerkhoorn between January 2006 and March 2007.

But Mr Boerkhoorn told the court he was duped out of £1m by the "crooks".

The Dutchman asked the judge: "What's the reason it takes such a long time to get all these crooks into jail?"

He continued: "For me, it's still unbelievable for what they have done. It takes such a long time."

Judge Stephen Robbins told Mr Boerkhoorn he "had better leave that one".

The court was told Mr Boerkhoorn believed the £1m payment was a deposit for the purchase of the hotel.

Lawyer struck off

Defendants Mr Lee, of Broad Lane, Goole, East Yorkshire, and Mr Dolan, of Philip Lane, Tottenham, say it related to a separate deal, the purchase of a golf course in Yorkshire.

Mr Farrell, of Aldershot, Hampshire, a lawyer who was struck off the roll of solicitors last year after using clients' money for his own purposes, claims he was following instructions given by the other two.

Prosecuting, Anuja Dhir QC previously told the court the trio "chose their marks well", targeting people who were interested in the high-stakes world of dealing in trophy properties.

The trial continues.

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