An alleged conman who carried out "bold frauds on a grand
scale" says he is the victim.
Loizos Michaels has denied 30 deception charges brought by
the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) relating to $3 million worth
The Crown says Michaels weaved a complex web of lies to
induce his victims to invest in schemes that included a
takeover of SkyCity, a casino at Gulf Harbour north of
Auckland and an online gambling website.
In closing the Crown case at the Auckland District Court
today, prosecutor Christine Gordon SC said Michaels met
former Christchurch Casino chief executive Stephen Lyttelton
and gaming manager Peter Arbuckle and spoke of connections to
the high-powered Ho family who own casinos in Macau.
"He played a brazen scam at the highest level manipulating
those he came across to either gain more profile or more cash
Michaels said the Ho family were planning a takeover of
SkyCity and wanted Mr Lyttelton on board. According to
Michaels, the casino giant was willing to pay Mr Lyttelton
But Mr Lyttelton was told he had to invest in the Ho family
businesses and Michaels if he wanted to keep his position.
"These elaborate but yet plausible lies induced each
complainant to invest their own money and to obtain further
investors in these false schemes," Ms Gordon said.
In reply, Michaels' lawyer Peter Kaye said his client had
been used as a scapegoat.
"The defence position is the accused was himself the victim
of an elaborate and complex series of fraudulent activity,
initiated and perpetrated by Messrs Lyttelton and Arbuckle,"
Mr Kaye said.
He said Mr Lyttelton and Mr Arbuckle turned against their
employer out of spite and orchestrated a media campaign
against the casino company, alleging prize fixing and loan
Mr Kaye said his client had no knowledge about how a casino
worked and had no access to funds to pull off a takeover.
In contrast, Mr Lyttelton had headed the Christchurch casino
and had access to the funds from his house sale and his
superannuation. He could also raise funds from his family and
friends, including National Party president Peter Goodfellow.
Mr Kaye said his client denied ever promising jobs to Mr
Lyttelton and Mr Arbuckle.
He told Judge Christopher Field the case hinged on the issue
Ms Gordon said the Crown witnesses were credible and there
was little doubt that Michaels pocketed their money - not the
other way around.
"He was the one seen with the cash, he was the one seen
flashing it around."
She said Mr Arbuckle had been left "destitute". After handing
over all his money to Michaels his home was the subject of a
mortgagee sale and he even had his power disconnected because
he couldn't pay his bills.
Mr Lyttelton lost all his money from the sale of his house
and had nothing to show from his superannuation fund.
"Mr Michaels conducted a series of bold frauds on a grand
scale with large rewards."
Ms Gordon said the element of deception had been proven by
the Crown. She pointed to evidence from Lawrence Ho who said
his company had never carried out due diligence on SkyCity,
didn't know Michaels and had never heard of him.
Judge Christopher Field is due to deliver his verdict on