Man denies 171 Turkey property scam charges
A businessman has denied a total of 171 charges relating to a £4m international property scam.
Standing in the dock of Belfast Crown Court, 51-year-old Kevin O'Kane denied 151 counts of obtaining money transfer by deception, four of removing criminal property, 11 of obtaining property by deception, and three of using a false instrument, all alleged to have occurred on various dates between August 2005 to July 2007.
The charges all relate to Mr O'Kane allegedly duping more than 100 people into handing over £4.2m to buy luxury holiday homes in Turkey.
The number of charges make it one of the biggest fraud cases ever heard here.
They involve obtaining not only money but property by deception and the use of criminal assets.
According to the charges, he claimed that he operated Golden Beach Villas and had “a right to sell” the properties in the Turkish sunshine resort of Gumbet.
Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess revealed that it has yet to be decided when Mr O'Kane faces trial, and whether the case will be tried by a High Court judge or a County Court judge.
Mr O'Kane, from Ballynease Road in Portglenone, Co Antrim, was released on continuing bail.
At a previous court hearing Mr O’Kane’s barrister said he will be “contesting every one of these charges most vigorously”.
Earlier this year Mr O’Kane was awarded £7,500 damages after he successfully sued former world boxing champion Eamonn Loughran for punching him during an argument over the alleged scam.
The incident occurred after Mr Loughran, who lost £75,000 in the holiday homes scheme, confronted Mr O’Kane in Turkey. A meeting between the pair became heated and Mr O’Kane said the former boxer punched him in the face.