Sex offender Shard tycoon ‘kept foreign jaunts from police’

Simon Halabi  (.)
Simon Halabi (.)

A former billionaire tycoon who was one of Britain’s richest men is facing a trial over claims he broke the rules as a convicted sex offender with foreign trips and alleged secret bank accounts.

Simon Halabi, the Syrian-born businessman who was an original developer of The Shard, is accused of flouting requirements to tell police about his movements and activities.

It is said he did not disclose travel to France in May and a trip to Costa Rica last December, allegedly putting him in breach of a notification order imposed under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Halabi, 64, also faces a claim that he opened “numerous bank accounts” between October 2021 and January this year, allegedly failing to tell police within three days of taking the action.

The businessman denied the charges at a hearing before Highbury Corner magistrates’ court on November 1, and elected to face a trial by jury. He was freed on unconditional bail until the next hearing on November 29 at Southwark crown court.

Halabi was placed into the sex offender notification scheme in 2018 after a hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court.

The businessman, who lives in Berkeley Square in Mayfair, once had an estimated fortune of £3 billion and enjoyed a life of champagne parties, luxury homes and cars, as he built his business empire.

As well as The Shard, the City headquarters of JP Morgan, Aviva, and Old Mutual were in Halabi’s property portfolio, together with homes in Mayfair and Buckinghamshire and a French chateau. But he famously fell on hard times during the 2008 recession and was declared bankrupt in 2010.

News of the criminal case against Halabi emerged today after details of last week’s first appearance at Highbury were omitted from the court list. Court records show he pleaded not guilty to all three charges of failing to comply with notification requirements as a convicted sex offender.