3 Oct 2012

Fraud-accused posed as wealthy businessman - Crown

7:15 pm on 3 October 2012

A court has heard that a man charged with defrauding potential investors posed as a wealthy businessman employed in the international casino industry.

Loizos Michaels is on trial in the Auckland District Court, defending 31 charges of obtaining by deception, relating to fraud of more than $3 million, none of which has been recovered.

The Crown says Mr Michaels conned people in to investing into his businesses by posing as a wealthy businessman who had connections to a shipping line in Cyprus.

It alleges the man convinced two managers of the Christchurch Casino he was employed by a family that owned and controlled a casino empire in Hong Kong.

Prosecutor Christine Gordon told the court on Wednesday that Mr Michaels told a package of lies, luring the acting chief executive of the Christchurch Casino to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a business venture and to resign from his former job.

Ms Gordon says Mr Michaels falsely claimed his business was bidding to take over the SkyCity entertainment group in 2007.

She told the court that the accused set up a business in New Zealand and obtained $114,000 from National Party president Peter Goodfellow.

The defence says during the eight-week trial it will dispute the Crown's accusations that Mr Michaels made false representations and intended to deceive people.