Westpac drops charges against Bill Papas’ Greek business partner in Forum fraud case

Bill Papas

Westpac has dropped its case against the Greek business partner of alleged Forum Finance fraudster Bill Papas, in a move that further slims down the bank’s case. The Federal Court heard on Friday the bank would be ceasing the matter against Anastasios Giamouridis, who Westpac had claimed owed it $12.6m reports the Australian

The long-running case had taken aim at Mr Giamouridis over his partnership with Mr Papas, running a business manufacturing waste digester machines for the Forum figure’s waste business Iugis.

Westpac had also claimed Mr Giamouridis profited from an alleged $453m fraud over his role in a Greek company called Mazcon, which Mr Papas used to buy Xanthi FC, a Superleague 2 football club in Thrace, in a $15m deal. Mr Giamouridis served as chief executive of Xanthi FC, before resigning from the football club in February 2022.

Justice Elizabeth Cheeseman heard Westpac would drop its case against Mr Giamouridis, who only moved to address the bank’s claims in September last year, with no findings he was party to the alleged fraud nor any funds being handed over.

Mr Giamouridis replied to Westpac’s claims in January, claiming he had no knowledge of, nor participated in, an alleged scheme to defraud the bank.

Westpac had claimed Mr Giamouridis should pay back $12.6m, but the Greek businessman claimed he had acted “bona fide” and provided Mr Papas’ company “valuable consideration for the payments” and had no knowledge the funds were fraudulent.

GA Lawyers solicitor George Anton, acting for Mr Giamouridis, who is still in Greece, said his client was “pleased and relieved” the matter had been dismissed.“Mr Giamouridis has been completely vindicated,” Mr Anton said.

The move by Westpac to drop the case against Mr Giamouridis comes as the third time the bank has dropped its action against parties in the case, as it seeks to tie up loose ends in the three-week trial.
Westpac delayed its actions against the father of alleged Forum Finance fraudster Vince Tesoriero on Tuesday after the two sides came to a confidential settlement.

Mr Tesoriero’s father, Giovani Tesoriero, had been caught up in the case amid claims companies he controlled along with his son had benefited from funds gleaned from the alleged fraud.

Westpac agreed to delay its actions against Giovani Tesoriero until September.
Westpac dropped the case against Mr Papas’ cousin Eric Constantinidis in December after he paid the bank a confidential settlement reported the Australian Newspaper.

The bank had claimed Mr Constantinidis, who bought the Forum Group from administrators, had received $720,000 from Mr Papas in breach of freezing orders.
Mr Constantinidis had claimed the funds were a repayment of loans to his cousin and refused to hand it back.

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