Charges on three cases of fraud at the Ayia Fyla Co-op, which are likely to be tried concurrently, were not filed on Monday, as was initially scheduled, as the criminal court granted a postponement request by the defence, setting August 30 as the next hearing date.
Thirteen people are facing charges in connection with taking out over €20 million in loans from the co-op with inadequate or non-existent collateral, including three businessmen, the director of a private company, and the co-op’s secretary, as well as the Loans Approval Department chief and members of the lender’s commission – a body similar in function to a board of directors.
Some of the defendants are involved in two, or all three, of the cases.
The first case relates to nine loans worth a total €4,5 million, the second 11 loans for a total €11,9 million, and the third another nine loans worth €4,6 million, which eventually reached €8,8 million after penalties for non-payment kicked in.
All three cases present with identical methods, with loans being approved with fake – or even non-existent – collateral, while individuals bribed into signing on as loan guarantors were unknowingly recorded as primary borrowers.
On Monday, the court voiced concern over the fact that charges have not yet been filed, but conceded that the cases are unusually complex, given the number of defendants, charges, and witnesses expected to be called to testify.
Eight defendants appeared in court in connection with the second case, with the defence objecting to the inclusion of conspiracy in the charge list.
State prosecutor Andreas Aristides argued that the nature of these cases necessitate the inclusion of conspiracy, but, when asked to comment, the defence asked for time before presenting its arguments.
The court thus approved the postponement of all three cases, given that they may be tried concurrently.
The defendants were released on conditions.