AIB, the taxpayer-owned bank, is expected to clear a profit on the workout of £750m (€840m) in boom-time loans it gave to Achilleas Kallakis, a convicted fraudster who used forged documents to secure borrowings.
Green Property, an Irish property group headed by Pat Gunne and Stephen Vernon, has put the last of the former Kallakis assets, a high-end office block at No 8 St James’s Square in London, on the market for £200m, signalling an end to an embarrassing saga for the bank. Green and AIB agreed a workout for the Kallakis portfolio of London properties in 2009, allowing the bank to keep the loans off its books during the economic bust.
Property sources said there was strong interest in the St James’s Square building, which achieved the highest rent in the UK last year when art dealer Helly Nahmad paid £185 per sq ft for the top floor of the six-storey building.
The building has caught the eye of Asian investors seeking to exploit the weakness of sterling, high-net worth investors being introduced via Swiss banks, wealthy Middle Eastern and European investors and some institutions. Once a sale is completed, sources said, AIB will be repaid in full and record a gain on the workout deal, even after paying Green a profit-share.
Green has also developed No 7 St James’s Square as an eight-bed private residence, which is expected to sell for over £35m. As part of the Kallakis workout, Green sold a property at Nine Elms in London to a Chinese buyer for £90m, and The Telegraph’s headquarters at No 111 Buckingham Palace Road to Kennedy Wilson for more than £200m. Apollo House and Lunar House in Croydon were sold for about £78m.