By Stefanos Evripidou
CYPRIOT FINANCIAL crime authorities are investigating the “suspect” transfer of €1m in 2007 from a Greek ship owner’s account to that of a company headed at the time by the daughter of former central bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides yesterday confirmed that Attorney-general Petros Clerides, earlier this week, instructed the Criminal Investigation Department at police headquarters and the Unit for Combating Money Laundering (MOKAS) to launch an investigation into the matter.
“What I can confirm is that instructions were given by the Attorney-general to carry out a criminal investigation into the transfer of €1m from one account in Greece to a Cypriot company’s account,” he said.
The former central bank governor yesterday released a written statement saying there was “nothing wrong or illegal” with the transfer in question.
“I have nothing to hide,” he added.
Christodoulou said he only learnt of the ongoing investigation after reading it in yesterday’s Politis.
The local daily reported that Greek and Cypriot authorities were investigating a “suspect” transfer of €1m in July 2007 from Greek ship owner Michalis Zolotas to the company of the former governor’s daughter Athina Christodoulou, less than two months after her father left the office of central bank (CBC) governor.
Politis said the money was deposited for an unknown service provided by Athina Christodoulou’s company to the ship owner, Zolotas, who the paper claimed is a “friend and close associate” of former Laiki strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos.
According to Politis, during an investigation into money laundering by the Greek financial crime squad, the Greek authorities came across the transfer of €1m to a bank account in Athens held by the Cypriot company A.C. Christodoulou Consultants Ltd. They found the transfer suspect and requested the involvement of the Cypriot authorities.
According to the paper, the Cypriot consultancy company was set up in June 2006, and had Athina Christodoulou registered as shareholder and director.
The transfer in question was allegedly made to the company’s Athens-based bank account in July 2007.
Around two years later, the €1m plus interest was then allegedly transferred to an account in Laiki Bank.
In February 2010, reported Politis, control of the company passed on to the father.
Speaking to various media yesterday, the former governor highlighted that he was not a shareholder of the company, which belonged to his daughter the time of the transfer, adding: “Since 2010, I work there.”
He welcomed the investigation into the transfer, saying he did not believe any wrongdoing took place, noting that the company offered consultancy services to a number of clients.
Asked if he knew the two Greek men referred to in the article, he said: “I do not know Mr Zolotas personally.”
Christodoulou accused Politis of trying to tar his name, hinting at legal action against the paper.
Vgenopoulos also released a written statement saying he was not even aware of the case in question which he denied any involvement in.
He accused the paper of groundless “mudslinging”, adding that it falsely stated Zolotas was his friend and close associate.