Millions paid to Bill Papas under “long running” and “calculated” fraud

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Westpac has accused Forum Finance of forging staff signatures at French titan Veolia’s New Zealand offices on false contracts, that obtained a further $44 million from the bank.

Australia’s second-largest bank has amped up its claim for Mr Papas’ overseas assets, increasing its petition for damages to the Greek company that holds much of Mr Papas’ identified overseas assets, Mazcon, declaring it received as much as $16 million as part of the alleged fraudulent scheme.

The documents also reveal large amounts of money received by Mr Papas’ business partner, Vince Tesoriero, alleging he received $28 million in cash – a payment that excludes the large property portfolio he acquired with Mr Pappas during the purported fraudulent scheme.

Westpac this week expanded its claim against Mr Papas to include a separate legal action it had been taking in New Zealand against Forum’s New Zealand entities and Mr Papas.

Westpac’s 544-page court filing details its allegations against the business partners.

“The total amount that Westpac and WNZL (Westpac New Zealand) have identified as being fraudulently obtained by Mr Papas directly or indirectly through his involvement in the scheme is at least $40.225 million, which excludes funds fraudulently obtained and used to acquire other property such as boats and cars,” the document says.

Westpac also alleges Mr Tesoriero received $2.3 million from Forum directly into his bank account, including occurrences where Forum made multiple transfers on a single day.

Mr Tesoriero, a café owner in Melbourne, is also subject to global freezing orders. He has been cooperating with liquidators and recently told the Federal Court the money he received from Forum and Mr Papas was in return for his initial seed investment in Forum of $10 million.

Mr Papas is yet to formally file a defence. He recently told the Federal Court, that since being accused of fraud by Westpac, he has suffered from COVID-19 and mental health issues.

Westpac’s total claim against Mr Papas for his alleged fraud now sits at $296 million, which includes $254 million from Westpac’s Australian business and $NZ44 million from its New Zealand operation. Japan’s Sumitomo and French bank Société Générale have also outlined their allegations of millions in fraud by Forum entities and Mr Papas.