The Apprentice property developer accused of brokering ‘dodgy deals’
17 December 2010
Lord Alan Sugar's business talent show has been hit with more controversy, as another Apprentice contestant is facing accusations of crooked business deals.
Overseas property developer Jamie Lester, who was fired on last night's semi-final episode of The Apprentice, has been accused of brokering ‘dodgy property deals' in a disputed area of Northern Cyprus.
According to a report in the Mirror newspaper, 28-year-old Lester, from London, is alleged to have recently sold the properties of Greek Cypriots, who left when Turkey invaded the region and illegally occupied it in 1974.
The allegations follow news last week that another former Apprentice hopeful, mortgage broker Christopher Farrell, has been charged with four counts of fraud by false representation.
Lester has defended his handling of the property deals, telling the Mirror: "All properties I have dealt with have supporting documents. I cannot be held responsible for the land."
Derek Hatton, the former Liverpool council leader, has been involved in developing property in Cyprus for the last 10 years. He claims that, while speaking at a conference he had attended, Lester said it was fine to sell these properties.
"I remember Jamie," Mr Hatton said. "I disagreed with the morals and legality of his argument."
In last night's episode of The Apprentice, Lester was grilled by formidable businesswoman Margaret Mountford during the interview stage, who slammed him for listing his ‘third nipple' as one of the most interesting things about him in his CV.
"Yes, you're laughing," the lawyer said. "I'm not."
He was then criticised for his 'blame culture', as he attributed the troubles in his property business to the recession, before Lord Sugar sent him packing.