January 4, 2012

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SPECIAL REPORT - Controversial Sale Of Planes Tied To Money Laundering

photo by defencenet

The case of the alleged sale of four Airbus A340-300 from the former Olympic Airways company, for the humiliating price of EUR 31 million (which is more of a donation rather than a sale), is raising many questions about the real dealings of the interim government of Lucas Papademos. The sale is controversial since the origins of this money used in the purchase of the planes have been questioned as is the mysterious "American" company, or "Apollo Aviation", which has the Cayman islands as its base. Five government ministers Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos, the Minister of Development Michalis Chrysohoidis, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate Change George Papaconstantinou, Minister of Infrastructure Transport and Communications, Makis Voridis, Labor and Social Insurance Minister G. Koutroumanis and interim premier Lucas Papademos, all signed for the sale. In an ideal political system, these government officials would have already submitted their resignations and assumed the political responsibility that backed the sale... but this is Greece, and unfortunately whenever any politician in this country commits fraud... or knows that fraud is being committed, then only some blog will announce it and have the courage to question the credibility of the story.

But in order to understand this case, we have to first start at the beginning. The Marfin Group of companies which bought out Olympic Airways several years ago decided to cut its transatlantic flights. Routes to Canada for exampled were X-ed from its itinerary. As a result it did not purchase four planes used for these fights when it bought the former airline company from the Greek state. The planes were therefore state property after Olympic Airway's privatisation. The Greek Air force, through B. Klokoza had shown an interest in purchasing them in 2010 and planned to convert them to aerial tankers, but the case did not proceed for unknown reasons.

One year earlier the Cirrus Company offered 97 million euros for the planes, but again their sale did not fall through... for reasons which are still unknown.

Then all of a sudden in early 2011 an international tender was launched for their sale. This of course before the establishment of the Fund for the Development of State Property was founded, and the final bids were made by June 20, 2011.

Sometime in August 2011, the government announced that it awarded their sale to the Apollo Aviation Group, which was said to have offered the highest price (or 40.4 million US).

This is what the bi-party Privatization Committee said about the sale.

And here we have a first collision with ... logic:

The bidder was the Apollo Aviation Group, but according to a previous notice of Clarity, the government's valuation of the planes was made on ... December 23 by the SL Engineering & Services company!

In other words... it was agreed that the planes would be sold cheaply and scandalously at 40.4 million US in August, and were re-evaluated several months later and sold on the very same day for an even cheaper price !

This alone should sound an alarm!

Apollo Aviation which has come under scrutiny was declared as the buyer of the planes four months before their evaluation by an even shadier company that popped out of nowhere.

So one year earlier they were selling the planes at 97 million euros.... not US... EUROS... and then one year later they bought the planes for less than half the amount. This alone SCREAMS scandal... but now comes the juicy part of the story!

One year ago or specifically on December 24, at the headquarters of Proton Bank of Lavrentis Lavrentiadis (we will explain who he is in a minute), the Sciens investment group showed up and asked for a loan for 35 million euros.

Some would say... so what?

We say.. keep on reading!

But... before we tie the whole story for you, you will have to first come to terms with who Laurentios Laurentiadis is. 
The new revelations in the Proton Bank scandal made by the Bank of Greece supervisors have given a new name to the financial institution founded by entrepreneur Laurentios Laurentiadis - "the bank with many friends." It turns out that the indictment for embezzlement made to Laurentiadis for about 51 million EUR is just the tip of the iceberg, because the frauds generally made through a combination of commercial transactions and figureheads are ten times larger than the first accusation. The findings of the Bank of Greece supervisors show that the circle of businessmen and entrepreneurs with a common interest related to Laurentiadis’ companies used the bank and deposits of citizens as a personal fund. Greek media report that basic rules for granting loans were not followed; preferential loans for tens of millions were granted to a small circle of friends and acquaintances of Laurentiadis that were used to purchase stakes of Alapis pharmaceutical and other companies, thus putting the money from one pocket into the other.

Unclear is the funding of Yiannis Rigas’ holding Sciens, in which the wife of then-CEO Antonios Atanasoglou, Vasiliki Atanasoglou appeared as a law adviser. The subsidiary of Sciens, Sciens Cyprus Properties & Holdings Ltd. was founded on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2010, as an offshore company registered in the Cayman Islands. On the same day, Christmas Eve, a request was submitted to Proton Bank for a loan for 35 million EUR. It was approved on Wednesday, December 29 and again on the same day, the money was transferred to an account of the new company, although the reason for the loan was submitted two months later on February 21, 2011. It says that the loan is taken for investment in real estate without a serious explanation. The shocking money lending goes on, as Lavrentiadis’ bank lent to the president and major shareholder in the telecommunication company On Telecoms Andreas Rialas. It was worth the small amount of 3.6 million EUR and the supervisors have determined it as a high-risk transaction. Initially, real estate in London worth about four million euros was recorded as securities in the loan contract, but after the payment of the amount, the property had been unilaterally written off from the contract, and the bank silently accepted it.

Besides the big deals, there are personal services the Bank of Greece supervisors have detected in the transactions of "the bank with many friends." This is the case with the loan granted to the Deputy General Manager of KPMG Spiros Martsekis. It was worth 320,000 EUR and the Executive Director of the Bank Antonios Atanasoglou recommended the loan granting under very favourable terms of repayment, because as stated in the report, Laurentios Laurentiadis was godfather of Martsekis’ child. The loan was given against a deposit of 50,000 EUR. Friendly relations were obviously important for getting a loan in the case of the basketball player Thassos Delibasakis from the team of Panionios, in which the main shareholder is one of the founders of Proton Bank, Elias Lianos. The basketball player took a loan of 650,000 EUR, which he was unable to repay. Therefore, Elias Lianos deposited 260,000 EUR to repay overdue interest and principal payments. The supervisors have found that Lianos is both chairman of the bank credit committee and approved the loan for the player.

Source GR Reporter

According to the results of the probe from the Bank of Greece Mrs. Vasiliki Athanassoglou, the wife of Antonios Athanasoglou, aside from being married with the managing director of Proton Bank Mr. Athanasoglou was also the law advisor of Lavrentis Lavrentiadis. As stated in the probe from the Bank of Greece which was featured on GR Reporter, on December 24, 2010 (Christmas Eve) a request was submitted to Proton Bank for a loan of 35 million EUR and according to the probe from the Greek central bank this loan was approved on Wednesday, December 29 and again on the same day, the money was transferred to the account of Cyprus Properties & Holdings Ltd. an off-shore company based in the Cayman Islands and subsidiary of the Sciens Company. (Small note: Cyprus Properties & Holdings Ltd, was apparently formed in December 2010) 

In other words... on the same day the Cyprus Properties & Holdings Company was formed, its representatives visited the Proton Bank, demanded a loan in the millions and the money was approved autimatically. Four days later the money was transferred to an unknown company in the Cayman Islands and the reasons for the loan, and probably the company's credibility, were only sought out two months later or on February 21, 2011!

Now before you begin getting confused... here is some more information on the shady dealings of Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.
December 6, 2011

Courtesy of a Swiss German publication, Handelszeitung, of Zurich, we find that the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, which handles investigative requests relating to Liechtenstein’s financial institutions, has to date received no requests for assistance so far from Greece in the case relating to Proton Bank’s Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.

This is surprising, in light of the reported facts that Lavrentiadis moved very large sums from Proton Bank through a series of vehicles he controlled, while establishing his own bank in Liechtenstein as well as undertaking the first steps for another bank in Zurich in a scheme that the Swiss paper describes as draining away €700 million from the bank to become “one of the largest business scandals in Greece.”

As described in Handelszeitung, Lavrentiadis created three companies in Zurich and establish a banking relationship for at least one of them, CVM, at the Zurich Cantonal Bank. Another company, Kronos Investment Limited, was established to invest in the intended new Zurich financial institution. In the meantime, private banker Maurizio Genoni had assisted Lavrentiadis in his private wealth management through a private bank established in Liechtenstein, called Lamda. Handelszeitung describes Genoni as saying that no money ever flowed from Proton Bank to Lamda. However, in light of the circuitous funds movements described by Bank of Greece officials in their reports on Proton Bank, this statement begs the question – where did Lamda’s funds come from? For example, did Lamda receive funds from other entities controlled by Lavrentiadis which had first received funds from Proton Bank, or from another Lavrentiadis vehicle that had received such funds? Handelszeitung

The sale of assets set to cover the loan by Sciens derived from its own assessment of its company and its excessive lending cannot be explained, claims the Bank of Greece in its report. Another company in the same group of companies, specifically the G MAN Cyprus (Cyprus) company, gives out zero dividends over the last two years  and has been borrowing funds from Proton Bank since 2007, while it has adjusted its loan twice already, even though it had a remaining amount of some 8.2 million at the end of March 2011.

A third report on defencenet which is also probing the same story today said that Sciens International Holdings, which supposedly has difficulty in repaying its loans (only one of which is said to amount to 70 million to the Bank of Pireaus) is suddenly and suspiciously taking out massive loans from Proton Bank (without any questions asked!). In fact the report on defencenet the group borrowed some 60 million EUR from Proton Bank in 2010, while it had a total of 22 million EUR of loan obligations to Piraeus Bank!

Now how are the airplanes, Proton Bank and this suspicious Cyprus company connected?

Well... the relationship between fund Sciens with Proton Bank L. Lavrentiadis can only be described as a father to son type: When running out of money dad asks his son for some spare change, and the son usually finds it for him the very same day!

At the Cayman Islands, the company has also made some interesting "friends". The report on defencenet claims that Sciens' acquaintances include people who purchase airplanes at a bargain price and re-sell them either whole or in parts to various aviation companies. This obviously caught the off-shore Cyprus company's attention and presto... guess where it decided to invest its money in? Yes... You guessed it... it bought shares in the Apollo Aviation Company. Indeed the scandalous company that just bought the four Airbus 340-300's planes at the most ridiculous price ever presented.

How much were the planes sold (rather given) to the so-called bidder? They were sold for 31 million EUR, when they had already been auctioned off for an additional 10 million, but were not sold for their real worth a year earlier or DOUBLE THE PRICE!

How much did we say was the scandalous loan being probed by the Bank of Greece that Sciens made from Proton Bank? It was 35 million, when the company already had pending loans to the Piraeus bank.

Did this Cayman Island company have other funds? "No," says the official report from the Bank of Greece. In fact the Greek central bank says they have over-stepped their lending capacity.

So the only obvious question is who (and with what funds) is the Apollo Aviation Company operating with; Is funds from Sciens? Or Lavrentis Lavrentiadis ...?

(Tik tok... tik... tok...)

There are too many questions here that require immediate answers by the present government.
You know something... Greece has a Criminal Code for money laundering... I wonder if any of our leaders have ever read it... Hmmm...

*Editor's Note: If you want to learn more about Lavrentis Lavrentiadis and get a better understanding of what we are dealing with here... Please read this story...
How Is PASOK, Egnatia, Halliburton, Cheney & Bush Connected?

And this story:
Venizelos Cornered by Greek Journalist on Proton Bank Scandal (VIDEO)

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