Cyprus Mail

Vgenopoulos tries to turn the tables

Andreas Vgenopoulos

In another move aimed to foil his questioning in Cyprus, Greek banker Andreas Vgenopoulos has reportedly asked Greek judicial authorities instead to investigate allegations of financial shenanigans at ex Laiki Bank.

According to reports from Greece, Vgenopoulos has filed a complaint asking Greek authorities to look into whether the shares of Marfin Investment Group (MIG) and now-defunct Laiki Bank were manipulated.

It was not immediately clear whether the complaint was filed by Vgenopoulos as an individual or by MIG as a legal entity.
The Greek financier is the founder and boss of MIG. He and his management team took over Laiki in 2006.
Should Greek prosecutors now determine that there is a case for Vgenopoulos and his associates to answer for stock manipulation, a case would be filed in Greece.

Vgenopoulos could then use that to argue he is therefore not legally required to answer criminal charges in Cyprus.
Media commentators observed that, to avoid being questioned in Cyprus, Vgnenopoulos has resorted to ‘suing himself’ in Greece.
Likewise, were Greek authorities to find no case against Vgenopoulos, the banker could claim he has been ‘cleared’ and that he cannot be investigated elsewhere for the same offences.

Stock manipulation, a felony in Cyprus, is classified as a misdemeanour in Greece.
What’s more, if prosecutors do find that Vgenopoulos has a case to answer in Greece, this would be a moot point, as the offence in question has expired under the Greek statute of limitations.

The allegations against Vgenopoulos and his associates at Laiki date back to 2011.
Two of Vgenopoulos’ associates – former Laiki board members Efthymios Bouloutas and Markos Foros – are to be extradited to Cyprus where they will be facing charges relating to mismanagement at the failed lender.

They and two others are accused of having conspired to mislead investors through public statements and inaccurate account reporting in 2011.
Laiki faced serious undercapitalisation issues and had to be bailed out with €1.8bn of taxpayer money in June 2012, but went down in March 2013.

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