Harvard grad wastes fortune in casinos
A Harvard-educated lawyer swindled £2m ($2.4m) from of a Turkey-born woman and then blew the money gambling at casinos.
convinced Aysun Kibar to invest £1.5m ($1.8m) in a luxury home she had never seen
Tim Damiani, 69, convinced Aysun Kibar to invest £1.5m ($1.8m) in a luxury home she had never seen in Mayfair, an affluent area of west London, England. The property is now valued at £12.6m ($14.9m).
Southwark Crown Court recently heard that when Kibar asked for a return on the money she “invested,” Damiani told her that he did not know what she was talking about. He was extradited from Italy in 2020 at the request of the UK government and remains on trial.
Fake passports and property
Kibar comes from a rich family that owns Turkish export company Kibar Holdings, where she serves on the board of directors. Prosecutor Sophie Stannard stated that she has an annual income of $300,000.
Kibar and Damiani’s wife grew up as close friends. They met in Turkey when they were 13 and remained in contact in their adult lives.
as far she was concerned they were her good friends and she had no reason not to trust them”
“As Ms. Kibar understood it, the defendant came from an affluent family and he was very well connected,” said Stannard. “He was a lawyer and went to Harvard. Ms. Kibar visited Mr. Damiani and his wife in Milan (Italy) and Switzerland and Cambridge (England) and as far as she was concerned they were her good friends and she had no reason not to trust them.”
During a 2016 visit to England, Kibar mentioned that she was considering a move to the UK due to instability in Turkey at the time. Damiani said that he had experience acquiring British residency and would assist her in the move for £300,000 ($353,900), allegedly to cover the cost of passports for her and her two children.
Damiani also allegedly asked unverified contacts in Rome if they could create passports for her entire family and came back with a figure of £80,000 ($94,500).
He then told her about the multi-million-dollar Mayfair property, which he convinced her to co-invest in. He said that the Arabian owner needed to sell the property quickly after a falling out with his mistress and they could not do an internal inspection because of the delicacy of the situation.
An unmet request
Kibar transferred £1.5m into Daminai’s account on September 29, 2016. Her money never went toward acquiring the property and she never received the passports for which she paid.
“A few weeks went by and Ms. Kibar became concerned that she had heard nothing more about the passport or completion of property,” said Stannard. “Ms. Damiani did her own research and realized the property was worth way more than said and discovered the property was linked to Mr. Damiani’s brother.”
Less than two weeks after sending the transfer, Kibar sent an email asking for the money to be returned to her bank account. Damiani replied that she would have it in 2-3 days, but never fulfilled his promise.
told the bank that he had no idea what Kibar was talking about
In January 2017, Kibar’s bank contacted Damiani’s lawyer inquiring about the missing payment. Damiani told the bank that he had no idea what Kibar was talking about and that she, in fact, owed him money, having spent hers gambling in casinos.
“Mr. Damiani had dissipated Kibar’s money and spent just shy of half a million in casinos, gave £76,500 ($90,200) to his children and not a single penny returned to Ms. Kibar,” said Stannard.
Damiani is refuting three charges of fraud. His ongoing trial is one of the largest cases in English courts.