Greek ship owner arrested in London for fraud

A Greek ship owner was arrested by London police as he left court after testifying in a $77 million lawsuit against the insurers of a ship that was allegedly damaged by pirates off the coast of Yemen.

Police officers told Marios Iliopoulos that he was being arrested for conspiracy to commit fraud and led him into the back of an unmarked car as he emerged from the Rolls Building, the court where large commercial cases are heard.

Suez Fortune Investments Ltd is seeking $77 million from Talbot Underwriting Ltd. and other insurers over damage to the vessel Brillante Virtuoso in 2011, according to documents filed in the case.

Suez claims the ship was boarded by armed men who detonated a grenade that started a fire, damaging the vessel beyond repair. Iliopoulos was the ultimate beneficial owner of the ship, according to a previous legal ruling in the case.

The underwriters have questioned whether the attack took place as described.

Iliopoulos came to London to answer questions about an archive for one of his companies that lawyers for the underwriters were trying to access. He had earlier claimed to be too ill to attend court.

Rhys Clift, a lawyer for Iliopoulos, and Chris Zavos, a lawyer for the underwriters, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The case is: Suez Fortune Investments Limited & anr v. Talbot Underwriting Ltd & ors, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, CL-2012-000028.

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