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Millionaire businessman, 46, ‘tried to kill himself’ as he faced sentence for fraud, court hears

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A millionaire businessman whose wife left him for Premier League footballer Cesc Fabregas attempted suicide the day he was convicted of fraud, a court heard.

Elie Taktouk, 46, was unable to attend Southwark Crown Court last Thursday after suffering ‘bad luck’ and was sentenced to seven years in prison during his absence.

Judge Alexander Milne issued an arrest warrant and Taktouk was arrested at the hotel where he was staying that same day.

He was immediately taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after attempting suicide.

Peter Caldwell, on the defensive, said: “He had made a real and very serious attempt that day to take his own life.”

He had a “mental health crisis” that “led to a breakdown,” Mr Caldwell added.

Judge Milne ruled that no further action was taken against Taktouk’s charges for not surrendering to bail, so he will serve a total of seven years in prison.

Elie Taktouk (pictured above), 46, was unable to attend Southwark Crown Court last Thursday after suffering ‘bad luck’ and was sentenced to seven years in prison during his absence

“He was taken into custody within hours,” Judge Milne said.

Taktouk was taken into custody from hospital on Friday and is being held in HMP Pentonville.

“He’s constantly on suicide watch, and I mean a room with a glass wall,” Mr. Caldwell said.

Taktouk married Lebanese model Daniella Semaan in Lebanon in 1998, but they split 13 years later when she left him for ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Fabregas, 34.

He had lost his former childhood home in Belgravia to Mrs 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 building, just yards from Buckingham Palace, was up for sale in 2013 so Taktouk could provide money in the divorce settlement with his ex-wife.

Taktouk ignored court orders forbidding him to buy airline tickets out of the country and hindered an investigation into his belongings.

Jurors learned that Taktouk relied on false documents purporting to show he owned no property in London during his marriage proceedings.

He plunged into the dock in July 2020 when he was jailed for seven months for disobeying court orders.

Last month, Taktouk, a director of JMT Property Ltd, was convicted by a jury of 11 counts of fraud after real estate developer Adrian Noël and his father Frank launched a private prosecution against him.

The cost related to the refurbishment of a £7million listed apartment in Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge.

Taktouk was convicted after a trial at Prospero House – the first ‘Nightingale’ court opened last year during the pandemic.

The Noëls made an initial investment that helped buy the property – then made ten additional investments at Elie’s request to carry out works while he was a project manager.

Rather than use their investments to pay for a jacuzzi and other renovations, Taktouk used the money 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 ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas (right), 34

Taktouk married model Daniella Semaan (pictured left) in Lebanon in 1998, but they split 13 years later when she left him for ex-Arsenal and Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas (right), 34

He couldn’t keep up with payments to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi and the Noëls lost just under £2.5 million after their property was seized.

Taktouk also forged bills for a construction company for work that was never done, and tried to shift the blame for the false bills onto company boss Joseph Farah.

Mr Farah’s reputation was ruined by the affair and lost his income due to lack of work.

The files showed that the Noëls lost all of their investment, which totaled £2,490,546.

Court documents revealed that Elie used more than £200,000 of the money to pay the legal costs of his divorce from Ms Semaan.

He also spent over a million of the Noëls’ money on over £20,000 in private school fees for his children; a £28,000 Porsche; a £21,000 a month property in Kensington; Georgio Armani clothing; shopping in Harrods and quality furniture.

Richard Whittam, prosecutor, said Taktouk committed the fraud between 2014 and 2017.

He added: ‘It’s all about an investment to redevelop a flat in Knightsbridge, with a father and son.

Judge Milne ruled no further action was taken on Taktouk's charge for failing to surrender on bail, so he will serve a total of seven years in prison (file photo from Southwark Crown Court)

Judge Milne ruled no further action was taken on Taktouk’s charge for failing to surrender on bail, so he will serve a total of seven years in prison (file photo from Southwark Crown Court)

The redevelopment failed, it died when the property was seized by a bank in 2017 and sold at auction.

“Taktouk wasted some of the money paid to his own personal needs.”

The Taktouk family is worth approximately £150 million and has a variety of business interests in Nigeria and Lebanon in transportation, flour mills, insurance and real estate.

Taktouk, of Chelsea, denied but was convicted of eight counts of misrepresentation fraud, one of positional abuse fraud and two of using a false instrument, between February 12, 2015 and August 1, 2017.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from acting as a company director for ten years.

Last year, Taktouk admitted six charges of violating a warrant and eight charges of contempt of court, and dropped into the dock when he spent seven months in prison.

Before being sentenced on that occasion, Taktouk said, “Please, I can’t do this. I’ve been through a bad divorce. This doesn’t mean I’m a criminal.’

In a statement to the court, Adrian Noel had said: “I felt like I had abandoned my father and disgraced my family.

“The day I found out the property was being sold…I couldn’t sleep. I was extremely anxious and nervous about failing again.’

He was diagnosed with depression after being scammed.

Last week, Judge Milne said of Taktouk, “I would find it hard to trust almost anything he said.”

He added: “The statement that this was just the blending of funds that could be recovered was rejected by the jury.”

For confidential support, call the Samaritans at 116123, or go to: www.samaritans.org

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