Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Laiki owner fixed job for ex-CBC chief’s former son-in-law

Former Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) governor Christodoulos Christodoulou

The former son-in-law of ex-Central Bank (CBC) governor Christodoulos Christodoulou who is accused of taking €1m to turn a blind eye to the takeover of former Laiki Bank in 2006, was in 2007 hired at the now defunct lender through a signed letter by late financier Andreas Vgenopoulos who ran the bank at the time, Nicosia criminal court heard on Wednesday.

Andreas Kizourides, former son-in-law of Christodoulou who was among the original defendants in the case but has now turned prosecution witness, told court on Tuesday the former CBC governor had used him to legalise the €1m he received from Vgenopoulos through Focus.

He also said that after Christodoulou spoke with Vgenopoulos, who is now deceased, the latter asked him to work at Laiki.

On Wednesday the prosecution presented three new witnesses: Fani Theofanous who used to work at Laiki’s human resources department, the financial director of the Monastery of Kykkos, Giorgos Pavlou, and the official at the office of land affairs of the monastery, Kleanthis Kypri.

Theofanous told the court that Kizourides was hired at the bank at the beginning of January 2007 as director of communication and corporate affairs, but said she was not aware of the conditions under which he was recruited.
She said she received a letter signed by Vgenopoulos that said Kizourides answered directly to him, adding that that was the only appointment letter signed by Vgenopoulos.

Theofanous said Kizourides had not filled in the application form properly as he had left some sections empty and did not submit all required documents.

Kizourides said on Tuesday that in 2009, his former father-in-law proposed to give him € 1.4m as a divorce settlement from Athena, Christodoulou’s daughter, in exchange for the transfer of two plots he had bought from the Monastery of Kykkos, initially to Athena and then their daughter. He said he accepted the proposal.

Christodoulou, according to Kizourides, told him he would initially give him €1m and the rest later and that he would transfer the money from his account in Greece. Christodoulou, he said, asked him to sign a statement he had written on his behalf that this supposedly concerned a real estate transaction between Kizourides and Christodoulou’s company to be sent to the bank in Greece to justify his request for the money transfer.

After what Vgenopoulos told him, Kizourides said, he later realised that Christodoulou used him to legitimise the €1m he received.

He also said his ex-wife learned about the case from her father after the scandal was uncovered. Pavlou told court that the two plots had been bought in 2003 for €205,000 and that, in his opinion, the €1m selling price of 2010 “was high”.

The trial also involves Athena Christodoulou, Greek businessman Michalis Zolotas, former Laiki official Michalis Fole, and companies AC Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, Marfin Investment Group (MIG), and Focus Maritime Corp.

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