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Cyprus

European arrest warrants issued for former Laiki officials

European arrest warrants were issued on Wednesday for former Laiki Bank board members Efthimios Bouloutas and Markos Foros, who failed to appear before court on Monday at the inaugural hearing of the first case relating to mismanagement at the failed lender.

Following their failure to show up, the Nicosia district court on Monday issued arrest warrants for the two men, who are Greek nationals and residents, rejecting their lawyer’s arguments that the court summons for his clients were improperly delivered.

He had also asked for time to come up with evidence backing the claim, as both writs were affixed to the door of the defendants’ place of residence.

The Nicosia district court had convened to rule on whether to refer the case to the criminal court. The other two defendants, Panayiotis Kounnis and Neoclis Lysandrou, also former board members, were in court. The four men are accused of having conspired to mislead investors through public statements and inaccurate account reporting in 2011.

The two initial arrest warrants were issued due to that the law on criminal proceedings requires the physical presence of the defendants for a referral. The court also decided to postpone the referral proceedings for March 18, so that the warrants can be executed.

The European arrest warrants were issued following a request by Attorney-general Costas Clerides.

Laiki faced serious undercapitalisation issues and had to be bailed out with €1.8 billion of taxpayer money in June 2012, but went down in March 2013.

Management of the failed lender was taken over by Marfin Investment Group (MIG) founder and boss Andreas Vgenopoulos in 2006. He promptly recruited a team of Greek nationals to run it, who he has called pejoratively “the Greeks” since the bank’s failure, arguing that the local political and banking establishment had always cast a suspicious eye on them.

 

 

 

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