"Eight years of trial by malicious gossip. Now I can publish the truth."

 

 

Click on the highlighted links to navigate within this document, or to view the documentary evidence.

 

 

Index of contents

i. Introduction

ii. Personae

iii. Brief summary

iv. Charges and verdicts

 

 

The 6 most serious of the false charges

1. CCP artificially inflated the plot price

2. CCP tried to divert the deposit payments

3. CCP required a disciplinary visit

4. CCP introduced a "fraudster"

5. CCP took a long time for the design phase

6. CCP construction costs were higher than expected

 

 

Addenda

v. Aftermath

vi. Architect denies previous co-operation with CCP


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i. Introduction

Can you imagine being accused of a criminal act you did not commit? By a couple who did not want to pay for your work? When they owe you around 13,500 euros? And for a simple reason: they never had the money to build the dream house you had designed for them, to their specification.

Can you imagine your name being displayed prominently next to the criminal charge "FRAUD" on notice boards in the main Chania Court, many times over the last eight years, for thousands of people to read, without the accusers' names being shown? Can you imagine the stress, time, and considerable cost it would take to defend and clear your name? Can you imagine one of your former clients literally turning their back on you, because they believed this couple's fabricated story at face value?

To avoid paying their debt to you, this couple inverted the truth and accused you of over-charging, fraud, delay, blocking them from selling their house, causing them to lose money on currency exchange, and exposing them to the global economic collapse.

These are just some of the false accusations I have had to endure, for the last eight years.

Now the facts can be published without fear of libel. Unanimous verdicts in both Criminal and Civil Courts of Justice, supported by full documentary evidence and public records, have cleared my name. You will see, that the reality is completely the reverse of the false accusations made by this couple.

You may think it extraordinary that I choose to publish an account of a dispute with former clients. It is indeed extraordinary. I have never experienced such a nasty and personal vendetta in my life. I have never experienced such undeserved slanderous and libelous attacks on my character.

You may think this article could be bad for my business; on the contrary, this article will set the record straight after eight years of poisonous whispers. You may think that I should "let sleeping dogs lie"; but no, the Courts have now given their verdicts, and it is high time the truth was published. You may think perhaps there is "no smoke without fire"; but when you have read this article, you will not find one tiny spark of guilt, quite the contrary. It is time that this couple's wrongdoing is exposed.

I was the English-speaking contact in the real estate business with my former Greek business partner, which is probably the reason that this couple - in particular the husband - focused on me as the target for their bile.

Apart from the Court proceedings, I have suffered eight years of trial by malicious gossip; have had my name slandered and libeled, time and time again; and my reputation, business and social life, affected by this couple. Now I can publish the truth.

Why not take this couple to court? I have legally reserved my right to do so. In another country, I would have done so immediately. But after the exhausting experience of the painfully inefficient and slow Greek justice system; with frequent postponements and wasted attendances; the near-certainty of a 5+ year wait for the outcome; the workload and cost of translating all documents into Greek; and the significant expense of lawyers and court fees, I want my life back. I do not want to throw "good money after bad", unless absolutely necessary.

There were many false accusations made by this couple, every single one of which was disproved in the two Courts. To keep this document to a reasonable length, I have selected just 6 of the most serious accusations, together with a few (50+) samples of the documentary evidence produced in court: there were literally hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of evidence that proved my innocence. Please be patient and try to follow the story.

The rest of this document sets out the facts. You can make up your own mind who was the guilty party.


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ii. Personae

 

John Daniel Houston & Patricia (Tish) Irene Houston

Until February 2016, residents of of Barton House, Achandunie, Ardross, Ross-shire, Scotland. Now resident in Plakalona, Kolymbari, Crete. Referred to as the "Houstons".

 

Stuart Simon & Minas Kontopirakis

Partners in the legally registered business "S Simon & M Kontopirakis O.E." trading as "Crete Complete Property", of Kissamos Crete, with tax number 998452074, which closed down legally in 2011. Referred to as "CCP".

 

Phillip Tsagakis

Architect with whom CCP co-operated from 2006 until August 2007. He was replaced in August 2007 by Civil Engineer Apostolis Andreadis, for reasons discussed later. Referred to as "Tsagakis".

 

Apostolis Andreadis

Civil Engineer who replaced Tsagakis in August 2007, and who co-operated with CCP throughout the Houstons' design phase. Referred to as "Andreadis".


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iii. Brief summary

• In April 2007, the Houstons contacted CCP about buying a plot of land in Crete, then constructing a house. Various example costs were provided, and 11 possible plots were discussed.

• In May, the Houstons visited Crete and decided to view 4 of the 11 plots. The price of one plot had increased, which the Houstons accepted in writing before viewing. They viewed all 4 plots, and decided to buy the plot whose price had increased.

• In July, CCP completed the plot purchase on behalf of the Houstons, who congratulated CCP on their service. It was agreed that house design would start in September. The Houstons signed a form appointing an Architect (Tsagakis) recommended by CCP, and sent it to CCP. The Houstons wished to reduce bank transfer charges and agreed to send CCP's and the Architect's combined deposit payments to CCP in late August.

• During August, CCP suspected that Tsagakis was breaking their mutual agreement, by approaching CCP's clients directly for construction work. CCP immediately substituted a qualified Civil Engineer, Andreadis

• In early September, CCP informed all affected clients of the substitution, and paid Houstons' deposit for Tsagakis, to Andreadis instead.

• Design work started in mid-September 2007, but unusually took until early February 2008 to complete. This was because the Houstons changed their minds, and ignored professional advice on several occasions. They also specified a number of expensive "extras", and insisted on using an earlier design for another plot from CCP.

• In October 2007, the Houstons visited Crete for a holiday, with one day reserved for design discussion. CCP arranged for them to meet Andreadis in person. On request, CCP also provided the Houstons with a sample contract for a part-completed house, so that they could study the terms and conditions.

• In February 2008, the Houstons wrote that they were very happy with the latest design proposals, and wanted to go ahead with construction.

• CCP and the Civil Engineer then produced initial construction estimates, which were far higher than the Houstons had indicated in spring 2007.

• The Houstons did not react like reasonable people, by reviewing/reducing the house design or extras, but immediately accused CCP of over-charging. They were comparing the costs of the part-completed house in the sample contract, with their high-specification new-build house.

• The Houstons ignored requests to pay the agreed design fees of CCP and the Civil Engineer, but took the designs to other builders for comparisons. Eventually the Houstons found another builder, and obtained a building permit in September 2008 for a completely different design. Construction work started.

• In October 2008, the Houstons suspended construction of this new house, citing "financial difficulties".

• Construction of the Houstons' new house restarted in 2016, when they finally had sufficient funds after selling their house in Scotland. Until February 2016, they did not have sufficient funds to build a house in Crete with CCP, or any other builder.

• In 2009 and 2011, the Houstons made false accusations of fraud against CCP, together with a civil claim for damages of over €340,000. All accusations were unanimously rejected by the criminal and civil courts, in 2015 and 2016.

• The design fees for CCP and the Civil Engineer - totaling around 13,500 euros - have still not been paid by the Houstons.


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iv. Charges and verdicts

Two Court cases (criminal and civil), were brought by the Houstons against CCP.

 

Criminal Case number: A08/595/01-12-2009

John Daniel Houston & Patricia Irene Houston v. S Simon & M Kontopirakis O.E.

Charge: Fraud.

Heard: 20-06-2014.

Verdict: Innocent.

20-06-2014 Decision of 3 judges and public prosecutor unanimous, no appeal allowed:

Greek: Αθώοι. Αρχικά συνεργάζονταν με τον Τσαγάκη και εν συνεχεία με τον Ανδρεάδη. Γνωστοποίησαν την αλλαγή στους εγκαλούντες. Ο Ανδρεάδης κατάρτισε σχέδια, εργάστηκε και αμοίφθηκε γι' αυτά. Δεν υπάρχει παράνομο περιουσιακό όφελος. Είχαν την δυνατότητα να κατασκευάσουν την οικοδομή. Αυτό ήταν το αντικείμενο της συμφωνίας τους και όχι η προσωπική εργασία συγκεκριμένου αρχιτέκτονα ή πολιτικού μηχανικού. Ούτε αντικειμενικά, αλλά ούτε και υποκειμενικά στοιχειοθετείται η κατηγορία.

English: Innocent. [CCP] initially co-operated with Tsagakis and subsequently with Andreadis. They informed the [Houstons] of the change. Andreadis drew up plans, worked and was paid for them. There are no illegal property benefits. They had the possibility to construct the building. This was the object of their agreement and not the personal work of a particular Architect or Civil Engineer. There is neither objective nor subjective evidence of the charge.

 

Civil Case number: 230/17-05-2011

John Daniel Houston &Patricia Irene Houston v. S Simon & M Kontopirakis O.E.

Claim: €7,000 land price difference; €2,928 design deposits; €1,666.63 travel costs; €14,331.17 loss from exchange rate Oct 2007-May 2008; €218,035 loss of house value Jun 2007-May 2011; €100,000 damages; total €343,860.80 [sic].

Heard: 21-05-2015.

Verdict 53/13-04-2016: Claim rejected entirely and Court costs of €700 awarded against the Houstons.


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1. CCP artificially inflated the plot price

The Real Story

In April 2007, the Houstons contacted CCP about buying a plot of land and building a house in Crete. CCP sent the Houstons a list of 11 possible plots. The Houstons were initially interested in a plot numbered L1117, in Sfinari.

In May 2007 the Houstons visited the CCP office in Crete, and after discussing their requirements, agreed a shortlist of 4 plots for viewing. The owner of plot numbered L1126 in Plakalona, had recently increased the price from €67,000 to €74,000 and the Houstons were informed of this, but still wished to view that plot. Before leaving the office to view the 4 plots, the Houstons acknowledged the price increase by signing the amended property listing. Of the 4 plots viewed that day, the Houstons decided to buy plot L1126.

By July 2007 CCP had completed the purchase of the plot for the Houstons, who congratulated CCP on the service they and the Power of Attorney lawyer [PoA] had provided.

The False Accusation

• The Houstons accused CCP of artificially inflating the price of plot L1126 from €67,000 to €74,000, implying without any evidence, that something fraudulent had happened.

The Truth

• Property prices are set by the seller, not by the agent. In the case of L1126, CCP had recently sold the seller's adjacent plot, and the seller wanted a higher price for his second plot.

• The original list of 11 plots was only reduced to 4 plots during the Houstons' meeting at the CCP offices. The Houstons were originally interested in another plot numbered L1117. The chance of an agent guessing which property the clients would prefer, and then deliberately inflating the price of that particular property, would have been 1 in 11.

• The sales commission of CCP was not increased, since it was the same for all properties below €100,000.

• The Houstons acknowledged the price increase in writing, before leaving the office to view the plots.

• Out of the 4 plots viewed - and knowing of the increased price - the Houstons decided to buy plot L1126.

• Once the plot was owned by the Houstons, they congratulated CCP on their service.


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2. CCP tried to divert the deposit payments

The Real Story

After purchasing the land, the Houstons asked CCP to assist with the design and building permit for a house of 200m2 with pool of 45m2. The agreed fee for design liaison was 2% of construction cost, with an initial deposit of €1,500. CCP intended to appoint one of the Architects with whom they had co-operated in the past, with clients JN, RN, HS, FN, and DG, This was Mr Phillip Tsagakis, who required a deposit of €1,200 plus VAT against permit costs.

Previous clients had sent one payment to CCP's bank account for CCP's deposit, and a second payment to Tsagakis' bank account for his deposit. In mid-July 2007, CCP advised the Houstons of Tsagakis' bank details.

However, to save bank charges, the Houstons requested that they merge these two payments and send the total to the PoA [Power of Attorney lawyer]. CCP replied that the Power of Attorney lawyer was only authorized to handle payments regarding purchase, not design or construction. CCP suggested that the Houstons send the merged payments to a project bank account, from where CCP would transfer the Architect's deposit. CCP sent details of the project bank account, and suggested that the Houstons send the funds five weeks later, at the end of August 2007.

During the August holiday period, CCP suspected that Tsagakis had secretly and seriously breached his agreement with CCP ("Architect denies previous co-operation with CCP"), by enticing clients to use his construction services rather than those of CCP. CCP immediately discontinued their association with Tsagakis, and substituted Mr Apostolis Andreadis, with whom one of CCP's partners had previously co-operated.

At the beginning of September, CCP informed all affected clients about the termination of Tsagakis and the substitution of Andreadis. CCP also transferred the Architect deposit to Andreadis not Tsagakis, and confirmed receipt of the payments from the Houstons.

The False Accusation

• The Houstons accused CCP of "encouraging" them to send the Architect's deposit payment to CCP's bank account, implying without any evidence, that something fraudulent had happened.

The Truth

• CCP provided details of Tsagakis' bank account to the Houstons, and requested that payment be made directly to the Architect.

• The Houstons wanted to save bank charges and suggested sending a merged payment to the lawyer. CCP advised that the lawyer would not be able to access those funds, and suggested that the Houstons send the merged payment to a CCP project account, from where the Architect payment could be transferred.

• The Houstons' merged payment was received into the CCP project account at the end of August 2007.

• Because of a suspected breach of agreement by Tsagakis, during August CCP substituted Andreadis, and informed all affected clients at the beginning of September.

• CCP confirmed receipt of Houstons' payment, and transferred the Architect deposit payment to Andreadis.


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3. CCP required a disciplinary visit

The Real Story

On 13 September 2007 (not after 21 September as alleged), the Houstons emailed CCP and announced their plans to visit Crete from 23 October 2007 "to suit our business commitments".

On 17 September the Houstons asked the CCP to suggest accommodation.

On 20 September CCP sent the first hand-sketched house layout, based on the Houstons' known requirements to date. That email made it clear that the house layout was from CCP, and in no way claimed that it was produced by an Architect. CCP also requested an "indicative budget for construction and pool, because stainless steel, floor-to-ceiling glazing etc are not cheap!", which the Houstons never provided.

In an angry email of 21 September, the Houstons rejected this initial layout completely. The Houstons stated that they wanted to use a previous design provided by CCP, known as "V2", even though CCP had already pointed out it would not suit all plots. The Houstons did not complain about CCP's behaviour, but about the initial design.

Due to the angry nature of this email, CCP called Mr Houston the same day, and managed to calm him down. Because the Houstons had already booked a visit to Crete for October, they agreed to meet Andreadis at that time. CCP produced a revised outline layout on the following day, which externally conformed to the design "V2" required by the Houstons. From 24 September and onwards, the Houstons appeared to accept it and subsequent revisions.

On 19 October 2007 the Houstons wrote " looking forward to our visit Tuesday".

Although the Houstons later alleged they were so "obviously ... unhappy", they brought presents, viz. haggises (a Scottish delicacy), for CCP staff.

The False Accusation

• The Houstons later falsely stated that they had arranged the visit because they were "obviously and apparently unhappy with the unhelpful behaviour of [CCP]", then tried to claim damages from CCP for travel and other expenses for that visit.

The Truth

• On 13 September 2007, the Houstons arranged their visit of 23 October to suit their business commitments.

• The Houstons were disappointed by the first sketch produced by CCP on 21 September, but by the following day a revised sketch was provided, based on the design "V2", which the Houstons approved.

• From then until after the end of the design phase, the Houstons had no reason to be "obviously and apparently unhappy with the unhelpful behaviour of [CCP]", and they provided no written evidence to support this claim.


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4. CCP introduced a "fraudster"

The Real Story

During the August 2007 holiday period, CCP suspected that Tsagakis had secretly and seriously breached his agreement with CCP ("Architect denies previous co-operation with CCP"), enticing clients to use his construction services rather than those of CCP. CCP immediately discontinued their association with Tsagakis, and substituted Mr Apostolis Andreadis, with whom one of CCP's partners had previously co-operated.

At the beginning of September, CCP informed all affected clients about the termination of Tsagakis and the substitution of Andreadis.

On 13 September 2007, the Houstons announced their plans to visit Crete from 23 October.

CCP organized an office meeting for 26 October, at which were present the Houstons; their French neighbours; a French translator organised and paid for by CCP; Andreadis; and CCP partners and two staff. During introductions in the office, Andreadis personally introduced himself as the new Civil Engineer to the Houstons (in the English language).

The party then visited the Houstons' land at Plakalona. The Houston's own court evidence (item #23) - a photograph taken by the Houstons of the site meeting - clearly shows Andreadis with other members of the party. The Houstons have circled his image with the annotation "introduced as our Architect", even though he had introduced himself as a Civil Engineer less than an hour before the photo was taken.

An email of 1 November 2007 from CCP to the Houstons, clearly refers to "Apostolis" (Andreadis), not "Phillipos" (Tsagakis). The Houstons never queried this.

An email of 21 November 2007 from CCP to the Houstons, clearly refers to "Apostolis" (Andreadis), not "Phillipos" (Tsagakis). The Houstons never queried this.

From Tsagakis' court statement:

" On 11 March 2008 [John Houston] sent me another email, together with a photograph, which he said, he had taken on the land where I had taken them, together with [CCP], he wrote in the email. He asked me if it was me in the photograph or some fraudster. "

From Andreadis' court statement:

"… I met for the first and last time with the [Houstons] in the office of [CCP], about the end of October 2007, then we went to [the Houstons'] land, where their house was going to be. In the photograph, which you show me, as item number #23 [of Houstons' evidence], is me, together with [CCP partners] and a French couple, neighbours of [the Houstons … I would like to testify that, when I met with [the Houstons], I introduced myself to them, with my first name and surname and profession, as a Civil Engineer and not as Architect. I don't have any direct agreement with [the Houstons], nor took money direct from them, but always through [CCP]. I have done a lot of work for [the Houstons] and on the basis of the National Law I have the right for the whole payment of the study and I intend to claim this through the Technical Chamber of Commerce."

The False Accusation

• The Houstons claimed that CCP had introduced them to a "fraudster" in October 2007, who was not Tsagakis.

The Truth

• CCP informed all affected clients, of the substitution of Andreadis for Tsagakis, in early September 2007.

• On October 26 2007, the Houstons personally met, and spoke with Andreadis (in English), in CCP's office and at a site meeting. He introduced himself to them as a Civil Engineer.

• In their Court evidence, the Houstons produced a photo of the site meeting one hour later, showing Andreadis circled, and annotated with the words, "introduced as our Architect".

• In emails, CCP referred to "Apostolis" (Andreadis), not "Phillipos" (Tsagakis). The Houstons never queried this.


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5. CCP took a long time for the design phase

The Real Story

The design phase started at the beginning of September 2007. The Houstons insisted on using a design known as "V2" which CCP had constructed for another client, even though their requirements were different, and CCP had pointed out it would not suit all plots. The Houstons also insisted that the house should be as far from the plot frontage as possible, although the plot sloped steeply to the rear. A site level survey had to be carried out in December 2007, to measure the slope, and the final month of design was mainly concerned with trying various house locations.

The design phase continued until the end of January 2008, during which the Houstons frequently changed their minds. CCP listed some examples in their Court evidence. On several occasions, the Houstons rejected professional advice from CCP and/or Andreadis.

From CCP's considerable experience, a normal design phase took about 2 months, and required around 5 design cycles (client request / discussion / agreement / plan revision). The Houstons' design phase took 4 months (excluding Christmas/New Year) and required 33 design cycles. The Houstons specified many expensive "extras", such as retaining walls; extra balconies; 200m2 tiled pool terrace; large BBQ wall; timber / stainless steel main balcony and steps; pitched roof with display timbers; floor-to-ceiling triplex display windows; extra bathrooms; stonework; pergola; drive & parking area. Also, because the Houstons wanted the house to be located far from the road frontage, on the edge of a steep slope and against CCP/Andreadis' advice, a large volume of stone/concrete would be required to underpin it. During the design phase, CCP warned the Houstons of the extra expense of these items.

Eventually, on 2 February 2008, the Houstons wrote that they were "very happy with latest proposals, can we now go ahead?"

Following this written acceptance of the design by the Houstons, CCP had formally completed their design work, as ordered. There was no reason for the Houstons not to pay CCP and Andreadis for their considerable efforts. It remained only for the working drawings to be formalised, and a building permit application made by Andreadis.

The False Accusation

• The Houstons accused CCP of taking a long time for the design phase, and claimed financial damages due to currency exchange rates, the global financial crisis, and the inability to sell their house in northern Scotland.

The Truth

• Houstons themselves caused the long design cycle, by changing their minds and ignoring professional advice on several occasions.

• The design phase started on 11 September 2007, and was completed by 2 February 2008. The global financial crisis was already underway by the start of the phase: a run on the UK bank Northern Rock occurred on 14 September 2007.

• The Houstons' Scottish realtor informed CCP that they had started to market their house in July 2008, months after their association with CCP had ended.

• Such events were outside the control of CCP.


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6. CCP construction costs were higher than expected

The Real Story

In April 2007, the Houstons discussed construction of houses ranging from 150-200m2 with CCP, with possibly a pool of 28m2. CCP had provided an initial estimate of €297,850 for a standard 200m2 house with 28m2 pool, on a level plot, excluding land cost, extras, utilities, and external works. CCP had also warned all clients, including the Houstons, that the basic construction cost had been held for nearly 3 years, but would have to increase the following year.

During their visit in late October 2007, the Houstons requested a sample building contract, so they could read the legal terms and conditions (not the cost calculations). CCP provided a copy of a redacted building contract for "V2", a design which the Houstons forcefully insisted on using. Project "V1" had started life as a single-storey building, but after basic construction of the ground floor, CCP's clients had decided to enlarge the design to a 2-storey building, hence the name "V2". The sample building contract provided to the Houstons was clearly titled "relating to completion of a part-built two-storey 200 square metre dwelling and 40m2 swimming pool". The completion costs for the "V2" project were calculated at €304,702, but this had no relevance whatsoever to the Houstons' new-build project. The Houstons chose to ignore this obvious fact, and later abused it to support their claim of over-charging by CCP. They compared their high-specification new-build estimate of €447,300 with the "V2" completion cost of €304,702: an apparent difference of €142,631.

Having completed the design phase on 2 February 2008, CCP and Andreadis were concerned about the cost of the Houstons' specification, which seemed far above their initial budget figures. Because of the large number of "extras" specified, CCP and Andreadis worked for another week, to calculate initial construction estimates before proceeding. They included the basic construction cost; the pool; the "extras"; underpinning costs; and pessimistic allowances for the building permit, workers' insurance, VAT, and utility provision. These estimates showed that the proposed construction would cost around €445,000: €270,000 for a standard house; €45,000 for the pool; €66,000 for specified extras; and €65,000 pessimistic allowances for statutory/utility costs. CCP sent these initial cost estimates to the Houstons on 9 February, expecting that they would ask for the design and house location to be reviewed, in order to reduce costs.

The Houstons' reaction was neither as expected, nor reasonable. Rather than reviewing the design and house location to reduce costs, the Houstons immediately accused CCP of misleading and over-charging them. CCP received angry and progressively threatening replies. CCP tried to explain clearly to the Houstons, that their perceived cost difference had no real basis in fact, but the Houstons would not accept this.

The False Accusation

• The Houstons accused CCP of over-charging. For some reason, they chose to compare the cost estimate for their own high-specification new-build construction, to an example CCP contract for "completion of a part-built" construction, in a different stage of construction, and to a different specification.

The Truth

• It was obviously not logical or reasonable, to compare the costs of the two constructions. CCP maintain that this was purely an excuse by the Houstons to withhold paying their design bills, because they realised they could not afford to construct the design they had specified.


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v. Aftermath

Within 11 days of receiving the initial construction estimates from CCP, on 13 February 2008 the Houstons alerted CCP that they had given the CCP/Andreadis designs - still unpaid for - to third parties without permission. This was in clear breach of contract, copyright, and commercial laws.

After taking legal advice, CCP were left with no option but to issue a request for payment and legal warning notice via email on 22 March 2008, which the Houstons ignored. A hard copy of the same notice was sent by recorded delivery on 11 April to the Houstons' address in Scotland, but was also ignored.

The amount owed by the Houstons to CCP is €7,592 plus interest, in addition to approximately €6,000 for Andreadis' design and permit work. CCP considered going to the small claims court in Tain, Scotland, however the maximum claim limit at that time was £3,000 which could soon be used up by accommodation and travel costs from Greece, if the Houstons failed to turn up once or twice.

According to documents submitted in the Houstons' evidence, on 19 May 2008 they signed a construction contract with another builder to complete a house and pool for €296,000 by April 2009. On 8 September 2008, they obtained a building permit for a completely different house from "V2"; and with the pool and house located close to the road, as recommended by CCP and Andreadis. Construction work commenced, but was halted on 21 October 2008 by the Houstons in an "agreement of postponement" due to "financial difficulties".

The fact is, that the Houstons had not sold their house in northern Scotland, and did not have sufficient funds to build a house in Crete with CCP, or any other builder. On 2 September 2008, CCP received correspondence from the Houstons' Scottish realtor, indicating that their house was not put on the market until July 2008, priced at £368,000+ (1.2623 = €464,526). The house eventually sold nearly 8 years later, in February 2016, for £295,000 (1.2815 = €378,043).


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vi. Architect denies previous co-operation with CCP

The Real Story

In summer 2006, one CCP partner was a legally-registered estate agent, who co-operated informally with the other CCP partner, before they formally set up their joint O.E. business in early 2007. The first partner had sold a restored house to client JN. Tsagakis was the Architect for the original repairs, and this is when the CCP partners first met him. In the autumn of 2006, the CCP partners also requested assistance from Tsagakis for client RN, who had problems obtaining a permit for their steel-framed building.

Over winter 2006-7, because Tsagakis was a Greek American, spoke good English, and appeared professional, CCP and Tsagakis agreed to co-operate thus: if one of CCP's clients wanted to construct a house, Tsagakis would act as Architect for that client and obtain income from the design work; CCP would obtain income from design liaison and construction work. It was agreed that Tsagakis would not contact CCP's clients directly without CCP's permission.

From early 2007, Tsagakis insisted on having a signed "Declaration of Engagement" (DoE) form for all clients, together with a deposit of 1,200 euros plus VAT. Tsagakis' original DoE was in Greek, unsuitable for CCP's clients, who were mainly English. The first draft of a new DoE was translated into English by CCP and sent to Tsagakis for comment on 1 March 2007. Within a week the Defendants and Tsagakis had agreed the format of the new DoE form.

The DoE format requires both the client and Tsagakis to sign it. Therefore it is impossible - as Tsagakis alleged in his court statement - to "falsely use that form with my details", unless someone forges the client's or Tsagakis' signature, and then returns the forged form to both the client and Tsagakis, either of whom could notice the forgery; an event which never happened, nor is alleged to have happened.

On 13 March, CCP sent two DoE forms to Tsagakis for checking, before they were emailed to CCP's clients, FN and DG. The clients signed and returned these forms to CCP, who relayed them to Tsagakis. The clients also requested Tsagakis' bank details so they could pay him the required deposit. Tsagakis provided CCP with details on 29 March, CCP relayed these to their clients, their clients transmitted the payments directly to Tsagakis, and design work started.

Between April and June 2007, CCP accompanied their clients FN and DG to design meetings with Tsagakis. At those meetings, contrary to the agreement between CCP and Tsagakis, he gave his business cards to CCP's clients and told them to contact him if necessary.

On 11 June, CCP sent a DoE form to their client HS, who signed and returned it to CCP, who in turn relayed it to Tsagakis. The client also immediately authorized CCP to pay the deposit that Tsagakis required.

On 12 June, after CCP had expended considerable effort, liaising between client FN and Tsagakis, FN informed CCP that he was ceasing work with CCP, but that he "may wish to complete the design with [Tsagakis] when I have sufficient funds".

From June 2007, CCP noticed unusually-delayed responses and a negative attitude from client DG. CCP strongly suspected that Tsagakis was breaking their agreement by directly communicating with CCP's clients in order to gain the construction work.

On 24 July 2007, a DoE form signed by the Houstons arrived at CCP's offices.

Because of their concerns about the relationship with Tsagakis, CCP in August 2007 held discussions with Engineer Andreadis, who was fully qualified to make designs and obtain permits, and with whom the second CCP partner had previously worked. CCP decided to terminate the co-operation with Tsagakis, and co-operate with Andreadis instead. CCP did not relay Houstons' DoE form to Tsagakis, but retained it in their office, unsigned by Tsagakis.

CCP's offices were closed during August 2007 for the summer holiday. On their return from holiday, CCP called all affected clients, including the Houstons, to inform them that they were not happy with Tsagakis' behaviour, and were substituting Andreadis. CCP received an email from client HS about the change.

On 5 September 2007, clients DG requested a meeting in CCP's offices. In addition to requesting amended design details and updated costs, they requested that CCP hand over several documents to Tsagakis. On 8 September, DG requested further documents and another meeting for the morning of 10 September. At this meeting, they announced that they were ceasing work with CCP, because they had found "another builder" and were going to meet him that afternoon.

CCP confirmed in March 2008, that, as suspected, Tsagakis had obtained a building permit for DG on 20 September 2007, and later in 2008 supervised the construction of their house, substantially to the design that CCP had overseen.

The False Accusation

Tsagakis, as a witness for the Houstons, made a false written statement to the Court prosecutor, denying that he had ever co-operated with CCP. This is the key paragraph from Tsagakis' statement:

"That which I understood was that [CCP], with whom - the previous year - we were going to co-operate and who asked me and I sent them a Declaration of Engagement form for another client, had falsely used that form with my details for the [Houstons], in order to cheat them out of money, of course without me knowing."

The Houstons knew that Tsagakis' statement was untrue as early as March 2008, when their newly-appointed builder informed them in writing that Tsagakis indeed co-operated with CCP. Yet the Houstons still submitted Tsagakis' false statement in their evidence to the Courts, together with their own contradictory evidence (Houston item #29).

The Truth

• CCP produced overwhelming written evidence, that CCP and Tsagakis had indeed co-operated on several occasions for at least a year, with at least five separate clients.

• There is no evidence whatsoever, that CCP ever falsified Tsagakis' DoE form, from the Houstons or any other client.

• The Houstons knew that Tsagakis' statement was false, yet they submitted his statement with their evidence, together with their own rebuttal of his statement.

• For some reason, Tsagakis did not appear at the final hearings, was not questioned in court, and was not charged with perjury.


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