Nikoloudis says ATEbank scan­dal is big­gest of its type

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Min­is­ter of State for Com­bat­ing Cor­rup­tion Panayi­o­tis Nikoloudis yesterday de­scribed the illegal loans pro­vided by the now-de­funct Agri­cul­tural Bank of Greece (or ATEbank) be­tween 2000 and 2012, which he is re­spon­si­ble for in­ves­ti­gat­ing, as the “big­gest scan­dal since the mod­ern Greek state was founded.” “We are talk­ing about 5 bil­lion eu­ros at least... which dwarfs the in­fa­mous [Gior­gos] Kosko­tas scan­dal in­volv­ing the Bank of Crete [in the late 1980s], which ran to the equiv­a­lent of 60 mil­lion eu­ros.” The re­sults of a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which were made public in July, in­di­cated that ATEbank was used to siphon some 5 bil­lion eu­ros to sup­port­ers of pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments as part of a pa­tron-client re­la­tion­ship. Pros­e­cu­tors are in­ves­ti­gat­ing more than 1,300 loans that were is­sued with­out the nec­es­sary guar­an­tees be­ing de­manded by the bank. ATEbank was ab­sorbed by Pi­raeus Bank in 2013. Nikoloudis said that the loans were not given ran­domly, but to spe­cific peo­ple, in­clud­ing “media own­ers, se­lect busi­ness­men and agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tives.”

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