Westpac, one of Australia’s “Big 4” banks, has launched legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Forum Finance, a financial firm run by Greek-Australian Sydney football personality Bill Papas, alleging sophisticated and “significant potential fraud” relating to a portfolio of equipment leases. Mr Papas is the respondent in the lawsuit.
Westpac has estimated the alleged fraud could cost the bank more than $200 million. In a shock ASX announcement, Westpac said while it appeared none of its customers suffered financial loss, investigations were ongoing and the NSW police and regulators had been notified.
Westpac said the legal action lodged in the Federal Court related to equipment leases arranged by Forum and referred to Westpac’s institutional bank.
“The bank has obtained certain asset freezing and search orders to preserve available assets and relevant information”, the bank said.
Forum’s website says it assists customers with the “basics of running their business, like managing their printer and copier fleets”. It has also expanded into business process improvement and automation.
The matter is being heard by Federal Court judge Michael Lee.
Earlier today it was also announced Mr Papas has resigned, effective immediately, as the President of Sydney Olympic Football Club, which was confirmed in a club statement.
Papas took over Greek-Australian football club Xanthi FC last August, with hopes for the Tony Popovic-led club to become a production line for Aussie players aspiring to scale the heights of European football.