Criminal charges were filed against Greek financier and former Laiki Bank strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos on Thursday by prosecutors in Greece, over the lending of up to €200 million from Laiki to the IRF European Finance Investments, an investment vehicle owned by Greek ship-owner Angeliki Frangou.
The case relates to some €200 million in loans to the IRF without collateral, prosecutors claimed.
In addition to Vgenopoulos and Frangou, 14 former Marfin Popular Bank – also known as Laiki – officials were also charged.
The bankers are accused of having breached their fiduciary duty, whereas Frangou was charged with complicity to the breach, as well as money laundering.
The prosecutions were the result of an investigation initiated by a corruption prosecutor.
It found that the initial credit line extended to the IRF, in 2006, was €75 million. Through refinancing, the sum skyrocketed to €200 million.
According to investigators’ findings, the loan appears to have been granted for the purchase of shares in MIG – Vgenopoulos’ investment firm – and Marfin Popular Bank – or Laiki – which was the bank that gave the loan.
The bank, investigators claim, secured no collateral when paying out the loan, and IRF has not repaid it.
The case had initially been investigated in 2010, when a state prosecutor had archived it, claiming it had found no evidence of wrongdoing.
In a statement of response later on Thursday, Vgenopoulos said his prosecution was “not legal”.
He claimed that the filing of charges was surprising as “the case had been, as is well known, archived, following several years of investigations, with a fully justified report by the prosecutor”.
“This is why a new prosecution would require, by law, the existence of new compelling evidence, in addition to my statement to the prosecutors who reopened the case,” he said.
“As far as I am aware, there has been no new evidence, nor have I even been called to exercise my basic right to be heard.”
Given the above, he noted, the legality of my prosecution will be examined.
“In the course of the process it will be proven that I have committed no wrongful act,” Vgenopoulos said.