Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 16:46 UK

Men deny con to sell Ritz hotel

Ritz hotel
The Ritz is one of London's most prestigious hotels

Three men are to stand trial accused of fraudulently trying to sell the Ritz hotel in central London for £250m.

At a hearing at Southwark Crown Court, retired construction manager Patrick Dolan, 67, of Tottenham, north London, denied conspiracy to defraud.

Lorry driver Anthony Lee, 48, of Goole, Yorkshire, and solicitor Conn Farrell, 56, of Leatherhead in Surrey, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge.

A trial, expected to last four weeks, will begin on 7 June next year.

The three men allegedly told businessman Terence Collins they were in a position to sell the renowned hotel in Piccadilly.

The alleged plot, carried out between 1 January 2006 and 31 January the following year, also involved defrauding property finder Karen McGuire and Dutch financier Marcel Boerkhoorn.

The three men spoke only to deny the charge against them.

The Ritz, opened in 1906 and owned by the Barclay Brothers, is one of the most prestigious hotels in London.

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