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Cyprus

Former central bank governor pleads not guilty to bribery charges

Former CBC governor Christodoulos Christodoulou

Former Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou pleaded not guilty on Monday to all charges against him concerning the alleged €1m bribery of his family-owned consulting firm to by Greek company Focus.

The rest of defendants – Greek businessman Michalis Zolotas, former Laiki official Michael Fole, and companies A. C. Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, Marfin Investment Group (MIG), and Focus Maritime Corp. – also pleaded not guilty.

During a previous hearing, Christodoulou’s daughter Athina, who owns the consulting firm, and her ex-husband Andreas Kizourides,also entered not guilty pleas.

The defendants face 24 charges including corruption, bribery, abuse of authority, abuse of trust, and money laundering. Zolotas faces a single count relating to money laundering.

Christodoulou did five months in jail in 2014 for failing to pay taxes on a €1m payment made by Greek company Focus Maritime Corp to Α. C. Christodoulou Consultants Ltd –  a consulting firm technically owned by Christodoulou’s daughter.

A.C Christodoulou Consultants Ltd had was also found complicit and fined €13,500.

The current case is based on the suspicion that a €1m transfer from Focus, owned by Zolotas, to the consulting firm was actually made on behalf of former Laiki Bank boss Andreas Vgenopoulos in exchange for the former governor’s collusion during the Greek financier’s 2006 takeover of Laiki.

Laiki closed down in 2013.

Vgenopoulos, widely considered to be the protagonist in the collapse of the island’s banking system in 2013, died in November 2016.

 

 

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