Bill Papas has apologised in an affidavit submitted before Federal Court for missing numerous deadlines saying this was “due to health issues principally around contracting SARS-COVID-19… where I suffered symptoms of extreme exhaustion and fever”.
He also said that he had also suffered from anxiety after he was accused by Westpac Bank of fraud in June. Mr Papas added that he could not respond sooner to orders of the court because of poor access to a computer, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Mr Papas said he had “an older laptop … that has at times been unable to open large documents.”
Mr Papas added he had “limited access” to secure and reliable internet. He also said he had difficulties in gaining access to a public notary because he was a “three hours drive from the next large city that has a public notary.”
The bank accused the owners of Forum Finance, of which Mr Papas is a founder and director, of being at the centre of a $400 million fraud. It alleges that Mr Papas, through Forum Finance, forged signatures and falsified documents to access huge sums of money in bank loans.
READ MORE: Bill Papas claims lack of funds to fly back to Australia to face court
In the documents that the court received, Mr Papas listed assets that included three jet skis, a camper trailer, each worth $15,000, that were held at his multimillion dollar property in Wagstaffe, New South Wales and that he $206,000 held in a bank account.
He also disclosed that he held shares in 10 Australian companies worth about $100. Mr Papas said that in March he sold his shares in Mazcon Investments through that he owned most of his offshore assets which included a four apartments and two office suites in Thessaloniki.
In the affidavit that was filed before the Federal court presided by Justice Michael Lee on Wednesday, 4 August, Mr Papas said he had been suffering from “extreme anxiety and panic attacks” since Westpac served him with court documents in June.
“I have been obtaining regular treatment from a health practitioner for the past three years in Sydney for anxiety and depression but as I am in Greece I have been unable to obtain that treatment. … Until recently, I have been alone in Greece and in isolation, which has been extremely difficult for me and my mental and physical health,” Mr Papas said in the affidavit.
In the first week of July, the court was told by Mr Papas’ solicitor that he had booked a flight to Sydney to answer the allegations against him but he did not board the flight. His girlfriend, Louse Agostino, flew from Sydney to join him in Greece.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Vincenzo Tesoriero, Mr Papas’ business partner, revealed in his court affidavit that he owned a number of expensive luxury cars. Mr Tesoriero’s lawyers had previously said that their client had resigned from most Forum companies but his affidavit had shown that he was owed $10 million by Forum Group, the employing arm of Forum. He also revealed that owned or was the beneficiary of a trust for a property worth over $60million.