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AG rejects suspension of case against ex Laiki brass

Greek authorities finally approved a request by Cypriot investigators to question former Laiki top man Andreas Vgenopoulos

THE attorney-general has rejected a defence request to suspend a court procedure against two former bank officials sued by a man claiming he was duped into buying high-risk, high-yield bonds.

Former Laiki Bank strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos, and former CEO Efthimios Bouloutas had asked prosecutors to drop the case against them, brought by a Paphos district resident who accused the now defunct bank’s brass of miss-selling the bonds and deceiving him.

Neoclis Lysandrou, Panayiotis Kounnis, and Laiki as a legal entity were also sued.

Their case will be heard on February 11.

Former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides was among those accused but the former attorney-general suspended his prosecution in September.

Two others, a former Laiki CEO Christos Stylianides and Kalia Efstathiou, who used to work at a Laiki branch in Paphos, have also been removed from the charge sheet.
The case against Vgenopoulos and Bouloutas was adjourned for January 14.

A number of bondholders in the island’s major banks claim they were duped into investing high-yield bonds without being informed of the risks, and some have sued the banks because they were allegedly not properly informed of the risks.

Laiki stopped paying interest on the bonds after incurring losses from a Greek sovereign debt write-down in 2011. The bonds offered an attractive return of 7.0 per cent in some cases.

The total amount put in securities across Cyprus’ banks is said to be about €1.4 billion.

Laiki is in the process of being shut down as part of the terms of the island’s €10 billion bailout.

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