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Cyprus

Marfin’s Fole remanded, prefers Lakatamia police station to prison

Marfin Popular Laiki Bank

EXTRADITED former director at now-defunct Marfin Popular (Laiki) Bank, Michael Fole, was remanded Wednesday for one day by a Nicosia court.

On his next appearance at 8.30am on Thursday, he is expected to be referred to the criminal court for trial on charges stemming from having played a part in the payment of a €1m bribe to former central bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou.

The payout was made by Focus Maritime, an offshore company held by Greek ship-owner Michalis Zolotas, who is considered to have been acting on behalf of the late Andreas Vgenopoulos, the Greek financier who controlled Laiki from 2006 to its nationalisation in 2012, months before it was wound down.

Fole, who was apprehended last month after Cypriot authorities secured a European warrant for his arrest in connection to the Focus case, has also been linked to suspect illicit transfers made on Vgenopoulos’ instructions. The financier, who also appears on the charge sheet, died earlier this month.

Fole’s lawyer told the court that his client wanted to continue being held at Lakatamia police station and not the central prison, to which the judge explained that it was not for the court to determine where he was detained.

State prosecutor Elli Papagapiou informed the court that Vgenopoulos had passed away and that a decision from Greece’ supreme court on Zolotas’ extradition, lodged last Friday, was being awaited.

She also told the court that Kyriakos Magiras, another associate of Vgenopoulos wanted for involvement in the case had said he did not intend to turn up.

Christodoulou, his daughter Athina, and her former husband Andreas Kyzourides have also been charged along with the others, while the companies A.C. Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, Marfin Invesment Group – MIG (former Marfin Financial Group – MFG) and Focus MaritimeCorp were charged as legal entities.

They face a total of 29 counts of offences pertaining to corruption, bribing public officials, misuse of power, abuse of trust by a public official and money laundering.

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