The Nicosia district court on Thursday suspended the execution of arrest warrants against two former bankers who failed to appear before a Cypriot court in February in the inaugural hearing of the case where they face charges of mismanagement at former Laiki Bank.
The action followed the recommendation of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which was adjudicating on a case filed by former Laiki strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos.
The district court urged Eftihios Bouloutas and Markos Foros to consider the possibility of appearing since they no longer run the risk of arrest.
Vgenopoulos and his investment firm MIG, along with a group of Greeks who had invested in Laiki, filed a case with the ICSID against Cyprus, claiming its government, which had taken over control of the bank after it was bailed out with taxpayer money in May 2012, was solely responsible for its eventual demise.
They seek redress of their total investment – totalling over €1.2b, arguing that the Cypriot government violated a 1992 treaty between Cyprus and Greece, in which they pledged to protect investments made by each other’s nationals.
Following their request last May, the court said arresting Vgenopoulos or any one of his associates, Bouloutas, Foros – for whom arrest warrants had already been issued – Panayiotis Kounnis, or Kyriacos Magiras, all of whom are considered key witnesses in the ongoing arbitration, would interfere with proceedings.
It therefore ordered the Republic of Cyprus to refrain from seeking their arrest, and suspending the warrants already issued until the case’s conclusion – expected in January 2017.
Bouloutas and Foros are accused of having conspired to mislead investors through public statements and inaccurate account reporting in 2011.
They face charges of market manipulation, conspiracy to defraud, presenting false information/keeping false accounts, and concealing the decline in Laiki’s net fair value.
The charges relate to the reporting of Laiki’s accounts for the third quarter of 2011.
They both sat on Laiki’s board at the time in question. They currently hold senior positions at Marfin Investment Group (MIG), the group that took over management of Laiki in 2006.