Cyprus Mail

Greek bankers claim no wrongdoing over Laiki debacle

Andreas Vgenopoulos (right)

The statement given by Laiki Bank’s former strongman, Greek financier Andreas Vgenopoulos, will be studied and assessed despite his own profession of innocence, Attorney-general Costas Clerides said on Wednesday.

He was referring to the much-awaited deposition given by the businessman to Greek authorities regarding allegations of his involvement in the alleged publication of misleading bulletins by the now-defunct lender in 2009 and 2010, which he gave on Tuesday in writing.

After delivering his written deposition, Vgenopoulos told reporters gathered outside the state attorney’s office in Athens that the case had already been archived (closed) by Greek authorities, which, coupled with his argument that the case is the remit of the Greek judicial system, constitutes precedent.

“This has all been much ado about nothing,” he said.

To this, Clerides replied on Wednesday that the Cypriot Legal Service will await receipt of the contents of Vgenopoulos’ deposition before assessing it.

Meanwhile, Vgenopoulos’ associates Efthimios Bouloutas and Marcos Foros, on trial in Cyprus in connection with a Laiki 2011 bulletin, still refuse to appear in court despite a decision by Greek authorities to extradite them.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the two Greek nationals deployed the same line of defence as Vgenopoulos.

“[On Tuesday] the Athens district attorney’s office decided to archive the same case (depreciation of Laiki’s goodwill of Greek operations in the first nine months of 2011) that we are being indicted for in Cyprus!” the two Greek businessmen said.

“Thus, according to Greek justice […] we are innocent, we have committed no crimes. On the basis of the European precedent set by the above decision, it only a matter of time before the unfair defamation and suffering we and our families have been subjected to comes to an end.”

The Laiki trial is set to resume on Thursday. At the last hearing on May 11, the district court judge adjourned until June 23 so that arrest warrants against the two men could be executed.

“They are still wanted,” Clerides insisted.

In addition to Bouloutas and Foros, former Laiki Bank top officials Panayiotis Kounnis and Neoclis Lysandrou are also facing trial in connection with the 2011 case. They are facing charges of conspiracy to mislead the investing public, and keeping false accounts.

Kounnis and Lysandrou appeared in court at all three hearings, but Bouloutas and Foros, despite initially expressing their willingness to appear before court, they announced that, on advice of counsel, they “though it necessary to not appear, with a view to safeguarding other ongoing proceedings”.

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