An investigation by Greek authorities, which lasted more than two years, into allegations of criminal offences by Andreas Vgenopoulos and his associates at Laiki found “no evidence of wrongdoing”, and was thus closed, the Greek financier said on Tuesday.
In a statement on Tuesday, Vgenopoulos said this development “vindicated” the positions he has stated publicly at various times, and destroyed “all the allegations from Cyprus against him”.
Following Laiki’s collapse in 2013, for which he has been held accountable by many in Cyprus, Vgenopoulos has frequently pointed to the local “political and economic establishment” as the real culprit.
“In the course of investigation, allegations made by [legacy Laiki lawyer] Antonis Glykis were examined, for which he and [legacy Laiki former administrator] Andri Antoniades have been charged with perjury for, were examined,” Vgenopoulos said.
“Also examined were claims made by Cyprus’ House ethics committee and many media, including big loans supposedly granted with inadequate collateral, as well as accusations of supposedly illegal actions in the purchase of HSBC’s stake in Laiki by MIG, and the approval of the transaction by the Central Bank of Cyprus, which was linked to additional claims of bribery of then-CBC governor through a proxy. Lastly, the purchase and holding of Greek sovereign debt was also investigated, as was the issuance of capital securities by Laiki.”
On each of the above issues, the investigator found no evidence of possible criminal offences, Vgenopoulos said.
“All this confirms the view I expressed earlier,” he added.
“The plot that has been set up in Cyprus will collapse, and those truly responsible for the destruction of Laiki – the bodies and representatives of the Republic of Cyprus – will be identified in the ruling of the International Court of Arbitration.”
Along with another 16 Greek investors, Vgenopoulos and his investment group has filed a case with the ICC – a tribunal for the resolution of international commercial disputes – against the Republic of Cyprus, demanding the return of their investment in Laiki, citing a bilateral agreement between Cyprus and Greece for the protection of investments from either country.
Laiki was nationalised in May 2012, after a taxpayer-funded bailout of the flailing lender out with €1.8 billion. Vgenopoulos’ argument is that the state-appointed bankers that ran Laiki until its demise are responsible for wiping out the Greeks’ investment in the bank.
If won, the case could cost the state of Cyprus over €1 billion in restitution to the Greek investors. Hearing of the case is scheduled to start in May.