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Orphanides willing to answer fraud allegations

Former Central Bank chief Athanasios Orphanides

THROUGH his lawyer, former Central Bank chief Athanasios Orphanides indicated yesterday that he was willing to appear in court to answer fraud charges.

Orphanides is a defendant in a private criminal prosecution regarding the alleged fraudulent selling of bank securities.

A Limassol resident has initiated the case against members of the former Laiki (Popular) Bank brass and Orphanides as Central Bank governor at the time, claiming he was duped into buying €400,000 worth of high risk, high-yield bonds.

An arrest warrant is pending against Orphanides for failing to turn up in court on previous dates.

The former Central Bank governor is currently teaching in the United States.

But his lawyer informed the judge yesterday that Orphanides’ no-show should not be seen as contempt of court.

Orphanides had been unable to attend due to his busy schedule, but would be available in June, his lawyer Efstathios Efstathiou said.

“My client has nothing to hide,” Efstathiou told reporters at the Limassol district courthouse.

He added that Orphanides rejects the fraud charges brought up against him.

The judge set March 17 as the date for the first hearing, but it’s doubtful whether any of the defendants will show up.

Also facing charges are former Laiki chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos, former Laiki CEO Efthymios Bouloutas, and former Laiki brass, Neoclis Lyssandrou, Christos Stylianides, Panayiotis Kounnis; Andreas Kalisperides and Spyros Georgiou, and Laiki Bank as a legal entity.

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