Man alleges fake Ritz purchase deal

April 18, 2008 at 4:33 PM
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LONDON, April 18 (UPI) -- A London businessman says he was duped by two alleged con men into putting down a $2 million deposit on the Ritz Hotel -- a property that was not for sale.

Terry Collins, co-founder of London Allied Holdings, alleged that Anthony Lee, an unemployed former truck driver, and Patrick Dolan, also unemployed, told an intermediary that they were representing the owners of the hotel, brothers David and Frederick Barclay, and offered to sell the Ritz to Collins for $500 million, far less than the hotel's estimated worth of $1.2 billion, The Daily Mail reported Friday.

Collins alleged the pair employed a group of lawyers to increase the illusion of authenticity. He said he borrowed the $2 million for the deposit from Dutch businessman and financier Marcel Boekhoorn and gave it to Lee in exchange for the release of 27 boxes of purchase documentation that turned out to be non-existent, the newspaper reported.

Police said the investigation into the matter is ongoing, but no arrests have yet been made.

Boekhoorn filed a claim against Collins and his company to recover the money from his loan, but his application for an immediate ruling was rejected by a High Court judge who said the matter requires a full trial.

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