Elie Taktouk, son of the wealthy Youseff Taktouk, has been convicted of eleven counts of fraud and dishonesty relating to a failed property renovation in Knightsbridge following a private prosecution prosecution brought by Adrien and Frank Noel, who were defrauded of £2.5 million. Mr Taktouk leveraged his reputation as a wealthy property tycoon to con the investors into investing large sums through a series of calculated lies about the true state of the redevelopment.
Renowned in the Lebanese and Nigerian communities, the Taktouk family are reportedly worth over an estimated £150 million, boasting a number of business interests in Nigeria and Lebanon in the transport, flour mill, insurance and property investment industries.
In 2015 Mr Taktouk reported to investors that he had made significant advances in re-developing the property. A series of requests were complied with by the Noels, amounting to £2.5 million, in each case representing to the investors that the funds would be used for specific aspects of the redevelopment such as the installation of a kitchen, a high grade sound system and high quality wood flooring. Fraudulent fund requests were also made for loan financing. Quotes for the work were produced to support the request for funds. Suppliers then never heard from Mr Taktouk again. An investigation led by the solicitors instructed (Edmonds Marshall McMahon) revealed a vastly different picture to that represented by Mr Taktouk to the investors; the investors’ funds were not paid to the lender, suppliers did not undertake the work and the property was left in a shell-like state. The property was ultimately seized by the lender and sold at auction.
Instead, Mr Taktouk kept the investors’ funds for himself, living a life of extravagance at the expense of the investors. This life of luxury included using the investors’ funds for expensive private school fees for his children, the purchase of a Porsche, paying rent at a luxury property in Kensington (exceeding £21,000 per month) and shopping sprees at Harrods totalling thousands of pounds. Mr Taktouk also used the investors’ funds to cover legal fees from his widely publicised divorce from Daniella Semaan, who went on to marry former Chelsea football player Cesc Fabregas.
Mr Taktouk will be sentenced in September 2021.
Richard Whittam QC, leading Henry Hughes, was instructed by Edmonds Marshall McMahon in this case.
News item adapted from EMM legal website.