$3m fraud trial verdict looms
Alleged conman Loizos Michaels will find out his fate in a little under two weeks as his trial takes a short break.
Michaels, who is facing 31 charges relating to losses of more than $3 million, is accused of creating an elaborate web of deceit and convincing several prominent New Zealanders to invest money in outlandish schemes, including a proposed takeover of the SkyCity casino group.
Several Crown witnesses from New Zealand and Australia, including National Party president Peter Goodfellow and former All Black star Jonah Lomu, have testified that the smooth talking Greek-Australian said he was related to a wealthy Cypriot family which controlled a major shipping line.
At the Auckland District Court today Judge Chris Field directed both the Crown prosecutor and Michaels' defence counsel to file their closing submissions in writing as the conclusion of the judge-alone trial nears.
The sides will send submissions to the judge this week and reconvene in court next Tuesday for related oral submissions.
Michaels initially asked to be excused from attending the Tuesday hearing because travelling from prison was an inconvenience, but he then changed his mind on the advice of the Crown and the judge.
Judge Field indicated today that he would be likely to deliver a verdict next Friday.