It's hard to beat Victor Lustig the con-artist who twice 'sold' the Eiffel Tower. A possible close second could be the three men who tried to sell the London Ritz Hotel for €272 million in an elaborate scam in which an investor handed over €1.1 million deposit. Irishman Patrick Dolan and two others, Conn Farrell and Anthony Lee, have been ordered to stand trial next year over the scam.
In January 2006 they told a property agent and a Dutch financier they had an option to buy the famous hotel at well below the current value. They needed the finance to exercise that option and then flip the property for a quick multi-million profit. The hotel was owned by the Barclay brothers who are famous for their secretive approach, a key factor in hoodwinking the investor into thinking he was dealing with a genuine middle man. Needless to say the €1.1 million wasn't wasted.