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Former CBC governor, four others referred to criminal court on corruption charges

Former governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Christodoulos Christodoulou

Former Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou, four other individuals, and three companies, were referred to trial before the criminal court on Wednesday over a €1mln payment to Christodoulou, allegedly in exchange for his collusion during the takeover of Laiki Bank in 2006.

The criminal court will convene on April 4 at 9am.

Apart from Christodoulou, the charge sheet includes Greek shipowner Michalis Zolotas, Christodoulou’s daughter Athina, her ex-husband Andreas Kizourides, former Laiki official Michael Fole, and companies A. C. Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, Marfin Investment Group (MIG), and Focus Maritime Corp.

Two others, former Laiki strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos and former executive Kyriacos Magiras were dropped from the charge sheet.

Vgenopoulos, widely considered as the protagonist in the collapse of the island’s banking system in 2013, died in November 2016. Charges against Magiras had to be dropped after Greek authorities refused to extradite him to Cyprus because some of the alleged offences had lapsed while others were committed in Greece.

The case is based on the suspicion that the €1mln transfer from Zolotas’ Focus to Christodoulou’s consulting firm (technically owned by his daughter) was actually made on behalf of Vgenopoulos in exchange for the former governor’s collusion during the Greek financier’s 2006 takeover of Laiki.

Laiki closed down in 2013.

The defendants face a total of 29 charges including corruption, bribery, abuse of authority, abuse of trust, and money laundering.

Zolotas faces a single count relating to money laundering.

The defendants will be formally charged on April 4. They were released pending the hearing.

The case had been delayed repeatedly due to the refusal of the Greek nationals to appear before the court in person.

The Nicosia district court had issued an interim decision that their physical presence was necessary for the referral process.

 

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