Laiki bankers found guilty of market manipulating
Four former executives of defunct Laiki Bank have been found guilty of manipulating the market, leaking false or misleading information and concealing information from the public.
The one-time bankers of defunct Laiki, managing director Efthimios Bouloutas, deputy managing director Panayiotis Kounnis, vice-president Neoclis Lysandrou and executive board member Marcos Foros were found guilty on Friday by the Nicosia Criminal Court.
They were charged with market manipulation and submitting false or misleading information while publishing an interim consolidated financial statement in November 2011, in which they omitted to include a goodwill write down of EUR 330mln for Marfin Popular Bank’s – as Laiki was then known – operations in Greece.
The criminal court had ruled in March that the prosecutor had succeeded in proving a prima facie case against the accused in relation to both the charges that they were facing.
The defence argued that their clients obligation to disclose the interim accounts of the bank were abolished under a new law and so the charges were no longer relevant.
State prosecution argued that a basic principle of Cyprus law is that offences committed before the repeal of a law are valid, so a crime was committed at that time.
The Laiki four were released pending sentencing on 17 October.
Laiki Bank was closed down in March 2013 as part of the island’s bailout agreement with international lenders following a banking crisis.
Disgraced Laiki was seen as the epitome of the kind of casino banking that led Cyprus to the brink of economic meltdown.