Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

First cases filed in Laiki probe

The first criminal cases in the collapse of Laiki Bank have been filed, public broadcaster CyBC reported on Monday.

The four defendants in the first criminal cases filed at the district court of Nicosia were named by Politis as Efthymios Bouloutas, Panagiotis Kounis, Neoclis Lysandrou and Markos Foros.

The prosecution relates to charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, conspiracy to fraud and offences against the law on market manipulation.

The categories have as a central axis that the nine-month results in the financial statements for the year 2011 were not properly declared and were misleading to the investing public.

According to Politis, in Laiki’s case the officials allegeldy manipulated the market by failing to report the writedown in the bank’s goodwill to investors in 2011. The AG found they did this intentionally, which means they conspired to mislead investors with regard to the bank’s true financial state.

When quizzed in September by investigators, Bouloutas, right-hand man of Andreas Vgenopoulos, and the Laiki strongman had refused to answer any questions relating to the probe until a Greek court rules on their application to be exempt from questioning.

In June 2014, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission had fined Vgenopoulos and Bouloutas €705,000 each for misleading investors with regard to the risk carried by Greek sovereign debt, on which Laiki had invested heavily.

Similar cases – revolving around misleading investors over Greek debt holdings – have already been brought against five former Bank of Cyprus officials, including two former CEOs and two former board chairmen.

Cypriot authorities have come under fire over the slow pace in prosecuting those responsible for the country’s economic collapse, with critics focusing on the failure to bring Vgenopoulos and his ring of associates at Laiki before court.

 

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