The alleged fraudster Bill Papas and his great escape

Soljar claimed it was unworkable that the two directors, Papas and Tesoriero, were unaware that a vendor finance firm like Forum could generate the extraordinary wealth that appears to have enabled the purchase of 38 properties, Audi R8 and RQ8 racing cars and other cars including Mustangs, a Range Rover, a $351,000 Porsche and a $315,000 Lamborghini.

“It’s just unimaginable that an office supply company could make the kind of money it would take to buy multiple Porsches, Lamborghinis, racehorses and everything else,” Soljar said.

The most intriguing piece of evidence was seized during a raid on one of Papa’s local properties.

Presenting a diary said to belong to dads, Westpac highlighted entries on an April 2018 page. It included charts and phrases like “fraudulent transactions,” “escape abroad” — and “tell Vince everything.”

Soljar says the credentials are “pretty telling” given what happened three years later.

One of Forum’s alleged financial charades involved the expensive Orca garbage disposal machines that Forum said it had supplied to ALH, the pub and poker machine group then controlled by Woolworths and billionaire Bruce Mathieson.

The machines use a process similar to human digestion to turn food waste into gray water at speeds of up to 45 kilos per hour.

Vince Tesoriero was driving the Forum Finance sponsored Audi when it crashed at Phillip Island in 2018.

Vince Tesoriero was driving the Forum Finance sponsored Audi when it crashed at Phillip Island in 2018.

In September 2018, Forum Westpac provided the underpinnings for an ALH loan to purchase 12 Orca machines from Forum companies for just over $2 million. The paperwork included forms signed by ALH Chief Operating Officer Trevor Smith confirming delivery of the goods.

The paper trail was meticulous. And according to Westpac, a complete fabrication.

Smith works at ALH but has never been chief operating officer. The court was told his signature on documents presented last week were forgeries, as was billionaire Mathieson’s document a year earlier, which confirmed Smith had the authority to carry out the transaction.


This only came to light in June 2021, after Papas left the country, when Westpac became aware of the extent of the alleged fraud.

This meant that Westpac’s $2 million was not used to fund this equipment – it became part of Forum’s $500 million funding gap.

The court heard how funds Westpac deposited in Forum Finance’s accounts were shifted to other companies, with Papas and Tesoriero directing much of the spending via email.

Soljar provided the most detailed account yet of Papas’ final days in Australia in June 2011, which coincided with WesTrac, billionaire Kerry Stokes’ mining equipment company, which eventually uncovered the truth.

It was late May 2011 when a chance conversation between a Westpac employee and WesTrac executives uncovered a multi-million dollar Westpac loan that WesTrac was unaware of.

“The mere fact that he [Bill Papas] ran away the way he did…is telling.

Jeremy Soljar, SC

On June 11, Westpac contacted Papas regarding the transactions.

He acted quickly.

The court was told that Papas had texted a Westpac executive on June 15, saying he was on his way to Perth to meet with WesTrac the next day to sort out the matter.

“The next information from the forum was that the meeting in Perth on the 16th with WesTrac had been cancelled,” says Soljar.

Westpac later received information from the Home Office showing Papas was not in Perth at all. In fact, he flew out of Sydney that day.

Soljar cited the notebook page and Papas’ departure as significant to Westpac’s case.

“The mere fact that he escaped in this way…is significant,” Soljar told the court.

“If there was a fair and honest explanation, that person would give it, but he didn’t do those things. In fact, the deception continued because he made up this story that he was in transit to Perth… and it turns out he had already prepared his departure from Australia.”


“What he performed on June 16 was exactly the overseas escape we had seen in his notebook a few years earlier. He went to Greece and never came back.”

Forum had made the travel request in May 2021, saying Papas would need to travel to Greece for three weeks to directly manage its growing overseas business, Iugis, amid COVID restrictions.

“We believe that our business will be significantly impacted if our Global Chief Executive Officer is unable to be in Greece to oversee our business and to facilitate the completion of several major contracts that we, as an Australian company, are managing through our subsidiaries in Greece and nearby.” benefit east. ‘ said the letter submitted to the court.

“Our focus is to bring the award to Australia with such a significant venture from Australian company Lugis,” it said.

Iugis Pty Ltd is now in liquidation and is listed as one of the defendants in the lawsuit.

The Market Recap Newsletter is a summary of the trading day. Get it every afternoon on weekdays. The alleged fraudster Bill Papas and his great escape

Brian Lowry

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