TT vi­o­la­tions ex­posed

Cen­tral bank probe into loans finds state lender broke rules as busi­ness­men prof­ited

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A re­port car­ried out by Bank of Greece in­spec­tors into mil­lions of eu­ros in loans is­sued by the state-con­trolled Hel­lenic Postbank (TT) in 2008 and 2009 dis­cov­ered that the lender re­peat­edly vi­o­lated its own credit is­sue pol­icy to re­lease a se­ries of loans with­out guar­an­tees, with the money end­ing up in the per­sonal bank ac­counts of some of the busi­ness own­ers who ben­e­fited.

Ac­cord­ing to the cen­tral bank’s re­port, ex­tracts of which were seen by Kathimerini, TT is­sued loans with­out guar­an­tees and with­out up­dated fi­nan­cial data, of­fer­ing fa­vor­able terms to sev­eral com­pa­nies, in some cases to overindebted ones.

Two loans worth 17 mil­lion eu­ros that were is­sued to busi­ness­man Kyr­i­akos Griveas – one of 25 peo­ple charged with fraud and money laun­der­ing in con­nec­tion to the TT scan­dal – ended up in the per­sonal bank ac­counts of Griveas and his wife, ac­cord­ing to the BoG re­port.

A larger loan, of 97.3 mil­lion eu­ros, was ex­tended to Alapis, a firm owned by en­tre­pre­neur Lavren­tis Lavren­tiadis, with­out any guar­an­tee what­so­ever, the re­port added.

A third busi­ness­man, Al­pha TV chan­nel and In­teramer­i­can insurance firm owner Dim­itris Kon­tom­i­nas, has been linked to a joint credit card ven­ture with TT, which re­sulted in losses of some 150 mil­lion eu­ros for the state bank.

Kon­tom­i­nas is to de­fend him­self be­fore an in­ves­ti­gat­ing mag­is­trate on Tues­day in con­nec­tion with the af­fair. Griveas, who lives abroad, has yet to re­spond to an ar­rest war­rant, while Lavren­tiadis is in pre­trial cus­tody on em­bez­zle­ment charges con­nected to another af­fair.

Sev­eral for­mer TT ex­ec­u­tives, in­clud­ing its ex-Chair­man An­ge­los Filip­pidis, have been charged over the sus­pi­cious loans. At least 1.5 mil­lion eu­ros in “un­jus­ti­fi­able” in­come has been found in bank ac­counts in Filip­pidis’s name. One for­mer ex­ec­u­tive of the bank, who is now head of the coun­try’s bank bailout fund, known as the HFSF, is also em­broiled. Anas­ta­sia Sakel­lar­iou was a mem­ber of the TT com­mit­tee that han­dled the re­struc­tur­ing of two loans that are now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras backed Sakel­lar­iou af­ter op­po­si­tion party calls for her to re­sign. “I fully trust and re­spect Greece’s jus­tice sys­tem, but I also fully trust Mrs Sakel­lar­iou, her in­tegrity, her pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise and, above all, her work so far,” Stournaras said.

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