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Vgenopoulos paid former CB chief €1m, witness tells court (updated)

Andreas Vgenopoulos

A witness in the corruption trial involving former central bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou told a court on Tuesday a €1m payment to the top banker was made by late financier Andreas Vgenopoulos through a third party.

“After what Andreas Vgenopoulos told me I became aware later on that Christodoulos Christodoulou used me to legalise the €1m he received from Andreas Vgenopoulos through Focus,” Andreas Kizourides, Christodoulou’s former son in law told the criminal court.

Christodoulou is accused of accepting the €1m payment to turn a blind eye to the takeover of former Laiki Bank in 2006. The bank was shuttered in 2013, while Vgenopoulos is widely seen as the main culprit in its demise.

“Christodoulou told me that he would at first put the amount of one million and then the rest. Then he told me that he would transfer the money from his account in Greece and he asked for my account information so he could make the transfer,” Kizourides said.

He added that Christodoulou then told him to sign a statement that the former central bank governor prepared, which stated that the money was for the sale of property between himself and Christodoulou’s company.

Christodoulou also offered to pay out €1.4 million to Kizourides to settle property disputes between the witness and his ex-wife (Christodoulou’s daughter) during their divorce. Kizourides said that he accepted the terms, and that when he questioned Christodoulou about the money, his former father-in-law told him he was in an excellent financial situation.

During the last hearing at the court in March, the defence requested that part of Kizourides’ written deposition be taken out as it was based on conversations he had with Vgenopoulos, who is now deceased.
The court denied this request by the defence at Tuesday’s hearing saying that Kizourides is being asked to comment on statements Vgenopoulos had made and not about their validity.

Kizourides was also requested to withhold part of the deposition as the content of that piece described actions committed by individuals not on trial.

“If the claims are believed to be valid, then we believe that the police should investigate, so that those individuals have the ability to defend themselves,” the court said.

Kizourides then went on to make his testimony. He told the court that he decided to give his testimony as the weight that has affected him and his daughter, whose parents are both suspects, necessitated that he take action.

He also told the court that he was hired at Laiki Bank in January 2007, after Christodoulou contacted Vgenopoulos.

Once a defendant, Kizourides turned state witness and had all charges against him dropped.

He was charged along with Christodoulou, his ex-wife Athina Christodoulou, Greek businessman Michalis Zolotas, former Laiki official Michalis Fole, and companies AC Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, Marfin Investment Group (MIG), and Focus Maritime Corp.

Zolotas is a shipowner accused of using his Focus Maritime Corp to transfer the €1m to pay Christodoulou on behalf of Vgenopoulos in exchange for the former governor’s collusion during the Greek financier’s takeover of Laiki.

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