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By Ilse de Lange


‘Usurper’ of Greek property mogul’s estate loses

Father’s friend says tycoon sometimes hallucinated and complained his son was trying to influence him.

A judge in the High Court in Pretoria has declared invalid the will of a Greek property mogul, in which he purportedly left his entire estate to his second son with only a monthly stipend to be paid to his other two sons.

Businessperson Elefterios Piagalis and his brothers, George and Steve, became embroiled in a fierce legal battle when the former approached the court to get their father Avgerinos’ will declared valid. It was signed shortly before Avgerinos’ death in 2010.

Elefterios also wanted the court to declare him competent to inherit despite the fact that he had witnessed and written on the will. In terms of the will, Elefterios would inherit his father’s entire estate with provision made for him to pay monthly amounts of R12 000 to George and R8 000 to Steve.

Their father, who came to South Africa in 1963, amassed a property empire in SA and Greece. He returned to Greece in 2006.

When he fell off his scooter, breaking a hip, he landed up in hospital and was diagnosed with cancer. He signed the will just before going to a frail care facility, where he died about a month later.

Elefterios insisted his father had read and understood the will he signed and that he had been adamant Steve should not get control of his inheritance because of a drug problem. George and Steve maintained their father had not been in a sound state of mind and that Elefterios had influenced him to sign the will.

A doctor who treated their father testified that he had been delirious at times. A friend who had visited him every day said he sometimes hallucinated and had complained that his son Elefterios was trying to influence him.

Judge Wendy Hughes found the will was not properly executed as one witness had signed it before the testator. She also said their father was not of clear mind and did not appreciate he was signing a will drawn up by Elefterios.

The 50% share in their father’s SA company that Elefterios transferred to himself was also declared invalid. – ilsedl@citizen.co.za

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