January 20, 2012

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Court Prosecutor Slaps Embezzlement Charges On Lavrentiadis

Finally some good news! Α first instance court prosecutor this week slapped embezzlement charges on high-profile entrepreneur Lavrentis Lavrentiadis in connection with a 54 million euro loan personally approved for him by Proton Bank. in the period when he was serving as president. Press reports in Athens say that the  investigation centers on large loans estimated at roughly 700 million euros, which were said to be damaging for the bank and which were given out in loans to companies and/or individuals that were said to be related or associated with Lavrentiadis. The entrepreneur now has until January 30 to prepare his testimony.

An audit by the Bank of Greece, which regulates the industry, found that more than 40 percent of Proton's commercial loans in 2010 were made to companies related to Lavrentiadis. The report says this was part of a "misuse of the basic principles of lending and assurance." A separate investigation, signed by a senior prosecutor who heads Greece's money laundering authority also discovered that Lavrentiadis (once hailed as the rising star of Greek business and known as a leading patron of the arts) had "formed a criminal team" with other "shady individuals" that apparently embezzled more than 50 million euros from the bank. It alleged loans made to dormant companies had been wired from Proton to another bank, the Piraeus Bank and then withdrawn by an employee in bags of cash.

It should be reminded that Proton Bank gave out "shady" loans to the Sciens company which was said to be behind the controversial sale of the four airbus planes (which was luckily cancelled late last week since hundreds of news sites and blogs blasted the expected sale which screamed the words SCANDAL and MONEY LAUNDERING). - Click here for that story

There are also reports that there is a CARLYLE GROUP-Lavrentiadis connection. Yes indeed the multi-billion dollar corporation which we all know is tied to the Bush family. Reports in Greek blogs claim that Lavrentiadis was the man used by this large company to channel money to several large media companies here in Greece, (including the take over of several publications, broadcasting institutions, etc) in the framework of controlling public information. - Click here for that story

The Greek and foreign press also began screaming the word SCANDAL in the early fall following a move by the PASOK government to nationalize Proton Bank by activating a bank rescue fund. Let us not forget that at the time the bank was under investigation for possible violation of Greece's money-laundering law and some began comparing the situation with that of the 1989 scandal involving the Bank of Crete. Click here for that story

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