Retired construction professional in court for fraud over fake London hotel sale

Patrick Dolan, a 68-year-old retired construction contracts manager, is being prosecuted for conspiracy to defraud in a scam pretending to sell the London Ritz hotel.

Along with 57-year-old solicitor Conn Farrell and 49-year-old unemployed lorry driver Anthony Lee, Dolan would persuade victims to hand over a £1m deposit on the purely fictional property sale, a London court was told yesterday.

Lee would allegedly convince potential buyers that he was a close associate of the hotel’s real owners, billionaire Barclay brothers.

The court heard that Lee told director Karen Maguire that he could buy the hotel for £200m and would sell it on to a third party for £250m, splitting the difference with her if she found a buyer.

The three accused men all deny the charges of conspiracy to defraud between 1 January 2006 and 30 March 2007. The trial is expected to last four weeks.