Millionaire businessman, 46, whose model wife left him for Premier League star Cesc Fabregas ‘tried to kill himself’ as he faced sentence for £2.5million fraud, court hears
Elie Taktouk, 46, failed to attend Southwark Crown Court last Thursday after suffering a ‘breakdown’ and was jailed for seven years in his absence.
Judge Alexander Milne issued a warrant and Taktouk was arrested at the hotel he had been staying at that same day.
He was immediately taken to Chelsea and Westminster hospital following a suicide attempt.
Peter Caldwell, defending, said: ‘He had made a real and very serious attempt to take his own life that day.’
He had a ‘crisis in his mental health’ which ‘led to a collapse’, Mr Caldwell added.
Judge Milne ruled that no further action was taken on the charge against Taktouk for failing to surrender to bail so he will serve seven years jail in total.
Elie Taktouk (pictured above), 46, failed to attend Southwark Crown Court last Thursday after suffering a ‘breakdown’ and was jailed for seven years in his absence
‘He was taken into custody within a matter of hours,’ said Judge Milne.
Taktouk was taken from hospital into custody on Friday and is being held in HMP Pentonville.
‘He is constantly on suicide watch, and I mean a room with a glass wall,’ said Mr Caldwell.
Taktouk married Lebanese model Daniella Semaan, in Lebanon in 1998 but they split 13 years later when she left him for the ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Fabregas, 34.
He had lost his former family home in Belgravia to Ms Semaan, 46, and Fabregas after failing to block the £5.5million sale of the flat to the footballer at the Court of Appeal.
The Grade-II listed property, just yards from Buckingham Palace, had been put up for sale in 2013 so Taktouk could provide cash in the divorce settlement with his former wife.
Taktouk disregarded court orders barring him from buying plane tickets out of the country and obstructed an investigation into his assets.
Jurors heard Taktouk relied upon sham documents purporting to show he didn’t own a property in London during his matrimonial proceedings.
He collapsed in the dock in July 2020 as he was jailed for seven months for ignoring court orders.
Last month Taktouk, a director of JMT Property Ltd, was convicted by a jury of 11 counts of fraud after property developer Adrian Noël and his father Frank launched a private prosecution against him.
The charges related to the renovation of a £7million Grade-II listed apartment in Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge.
Taktouk was convicted following a trial at Prospero House – the first ‘Nightingale’ court to be opened in the pandemic last year.
The Noëls made an initial investment which helped to buy the property – and then made ten additional investments at Elie’s request for works to be done while he was project manager.
Instead of using their investments to help pay for a jacuzzi and other renovations Taktouk used the cash to fund his extravagant lifestyle.
Taktouk married model Daniella Semaan (pictured left), in Lebanon in 1998 but they split 13 years later when she left him for the ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas (right), 34
He failed to keep up with payments due to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and the Noëls lost just under £2.5million after their property was seized.
Taktouk also faked invoices for a building firm for work that was never done, and tried to shift the blame for the fake invoices onto company boss Joseph Farah.
Mr Farah’s reputation was ruined by the affair, and lost his income due to lack of work.
Case papers revealed the Noëls lost the whole of their investment which totalled £2,490,546.
Court documents showed Elie used more than £200,000 of the funds to pay legal fees from his divorce from Ms Semaan.
He also spent over a million of the Noëls’ money on over £20,000 of private school fees for his children; a £28,000 Porsche; a £21,000-a-month property in Kensington; Georgio Armani clothes; shopping sprees in Harrods and high-value furniture.
Richard Whittam, prosecuting, said Taktouk carried out the fraud between 2014 and 2017.
He added: ‘It is all about an investment to acquire to redevelop a flat in Knightsbridge, with a father and son.
Judge Milne ruled that no further action was taken on the charge against Taktouk for failing to surrender to bail so he will serve seven years jail in total (file photo of Southwark Crown Court)
‘The redevelopment failed, it died when the property was seized by a bank and sold at auction in 2017.
‘Taktouk wasted some of the funds that were paid on his own personal needs.’
The Taktouk family are worth approximately £150million, and boast a variety of business interests in Nigeria and Lebanon in transport, flour mills, insurance, and property.
Taktouk, of Chelsea, denied but was convicted of eight counts of fraud by false representation, one of fraud by abuse of position and two of using a false instrument, between 12 February 2015 and 1 August 2017.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison and disqualified from acting as a company director for ten years.
Last year Taktouk admitted six counts of violating a restraint order and eight counts of contempt of court and collapsed in the dock as he was jailed for seven months.
Before he was sentenced on that occasion Taktouk said: ‘Please, I can’t do this. I went through a bad divorce. This does not mean I am a criminal.’
In a statement read to the court, Adrian Noel had said: ‘I felt I had let my father down and brought shame on my family.
‘The day I discovered the property was being sold… I couldn’t sleep. I was extremely anxious and nervous about failing again.’
He was diagnosed with depression after he was defrauded.
Last week Judge Milne said of Taktouk: ‘I would find it hard to rely on almost everything he said.’
He added: ‘The explanation this was just the mixing of funds which could be made good was rejected by the jury.’
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