Ritz 'plotter' blew cash on 'a good time'

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The Independent Online

A man accused of fraudulently attempting to sell the Ritz Hotel for £250m told a court yesterday that he blew his share of a £1m payment on having a good time.

Patrick Dolan, 68, said he received €644,000, then worth about £435,000, from the alleged victims and spent €40,000 a day betting on horse races. He also bought a Mercedes, paid off his €46,000 mortgage, and spent the rest on himself.

"I had a good time," he told the jury at Southwark Crown Court in London. "A wise man told me there's no shops in the graveyard."

He went on: "I paid off the little things, credit cards and things. I didn't owe much money to anyone. I spent the rest on myself. Forty thousand a day on races. I had a good time. I know everything about horses. I know them back to front."

Mr Dolan and Anthony Lee, 49, are accused of targeting Terence Collins, a property dealer, because of his interest in trophy properties. Solicitor Conn Farrell, 57, is said to have added credibility to the deal. Mr Collins, funded by a Dutch financier Marcus Boerkhoorn, handed over a £1m deposit, the court was told.

But Mr Dolan said the £1m payment had nothing to do with the Ritz Hotel and related to a completely separate property deal in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. Mr Dolan, of Tottenham, north London; Mr Lee, of Goole, East Yorkshire, and Mr Farrell, of Aldershot, Hampshire, are on bail and all deny conspiracy to defraud.

The trial continues.