The Nicosia criminal court unanimously decided on Wednesday that former Laiki Bank executives have a case to answer to in connection with market manipulation and issuing misleading information.
The defendants in the trial are Laiki’s then-managing director Efthimios Bouloutas, his deputy Panayiotis Kounnis, non-executive vice-president Neoclis Lysandrou and executive board member Marcos Foros.
They face charges of market manipulation and submitting false or misleading information with regard to publishing an interim consolidated financial statement in November 2011, in which they omitted to include a goodwill writedown of €330m for Marfin Popular Bank’s – as Laiki was then known – operations in Greece.
The lender was shuttered in 2013 as part of the island’s bailout agreement.
The court said prosecutors have established a prima facie case and the former executives must now mount a defence to have it disproved.
The defendants were informed that they now have three choices: either to make a statement from the dock without undergoing cross-examination, take the stand and undergo cross-examination, or to remain silent.
Irrespective of their choice, the defendants have a right to call defence witnesses.
“Taking into account the contents of the relevant articles on which the two charges are based upon, the elements of the offences, what is attributed to the defendants based on the details of each offence, as well as the submitted evidence, on the face of it, we are satisfied at this stage that there is evidence before the court, which substantiates the elements of the offences against all the defendants,” the court said.