Northern Ireland

Turkey property 'scam' man faces court hearing

Kevin O'Kane
Image caption Kevin O'Kane faces 171 fraud charges

An NI man alleged to be involved in a multi-million pound property scam in Turkey is to appear in court later this month charged with 171 fraud offences.

Kevin O'Kane, 51, who is originally from Bellaghy and now lives in Portglenone, is accused of obtaining money and property by deception.

About 80 people from NI are believed to have paid £75,000 each for three bedroom properties near Bodrum.

Mr O'Kane has consistently claimed he is himself the victim of a scam.

His solicitor has said he will be denying the charges.

He faces one court of money laundering, three of forgery and 167 of obtaining money or property by deception.

The charges date from between 2005 and 2007.

It is alleged that he falsely represented himself as the landowner, builder and developer of the Golden Beach Villas and claimed that he had the authority to sell them.

His solicitor, Hugh Leslie of John J Rice and Company, said his client had fully co-operated with investigating police.

"He has given full explanations as to his business activities in Turkey.

"He makes the point that he has lost financially as a result of his involvement in those activities and that the people who are responsible for the loss of money involving so many investors in Northern Ireland are still in Turkey.

"He says he acted in good faith."

He added that Mr O'Kane believed there was a risk to his personal safety in Turkey.

"He is anxious to clear his name and he will be pleading not guilty at his eventual trial."

It is believed that at the court hearing on 27 August, the Public Prosecution Service will apply to have Mr O'Kane returned for trial by a jury.

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