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The former head of the central bank was handed a five month prison sentence on Monday for his involvement in a case of tax evasion over a million-euro deal during the final days of his term in office.
Christodoulos Christodoulou, who has also served as Finance and Interior ministers in previous administrations, pleaded guilty last month to six charges of tax offences after the state prosecuted him over the transfer of EUR 1 mln to the company managed by his daughter in 2007, just a few months after his term as governor expired.
The Court also ordered the family company (A.C Christodoulou Consultants Ltd) to pay a fine of EUR 13,500.
Invited to comment on the court decision, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that in general, society wants ‘catharsis’ over the economic scandal. He added that the people have sacrificed a lot and this reflects to the recent stress tests results. He added that the people have been patient and want all those who are responsible for the economic crisis to be punished.
Christodoulou first appeared in court in May and faced eleven charges of tax fraud, conspiracy and forgery in a trial that began in June.
Christodoulou, his daughter Athina, her estranged husband and former Laiki Bank executive Andreas Kizourides and AC Christodoulou Consultants were alleged to have received an amount of EUR 1 mln from Focus Maritime Corporation in Greece and not declared it in their accounts between 2007 and 2009, while taxable dividends reported were nearly a tenth of the actual amount, according to state prosecutor Andreas Aristeides.
The Nicosia District court had also asked the Greek authorities to investigate the reasons for the money transfer and if there had been any trade-off related to the deal.
One of the charges also suggests that the amount was transferred to Athina Christodoulou’s account less than two months after her father left the central bank.
Press reports alleged at the time that the real beneficiary behind the Focus deal was former Laiki boss Andreas Vgenopoulos whose Marfin Investment Group had been named in several inquiries probing the collapse of the island’s banking system due to unprecedented lending with little or no security to business associates.
Vgenopoulos refuted the allegations and challenged Focus Maritime executives to come forward and clear his name.
Focus Maritime was also mentioned as being a major donor to the island’s two leading parties – the Democratic Rally (DISY) affiliated to the European Popular Party, and the communist AKEL, affiliated to the NGL-United Left alliance within the European Parliament.
Ruling DISY was reported to have received EUR 500,000 and AKEL EUR 1.5 mln, embarrassing both parties and destroying the credibility of their leaders who had been vying to win the six seats allocated to Cyprus.