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Vgenopoulos' testimony, at last

07/09/2015 10:16
Two and a half years after the collapse of Laiki Bank, Greek investigating authorities are expected to get testimonies today from the former strong man of Laiki, Andreas Vgenopoulos and his close associates regarding what happened in Cyprus before 2013.

Yesterday a team of investigators from the Cypriot police headquarters, that handles issues of economic crime arrived in Athens and will attend the trial process of Mr. Vgenopoulos and the former CEO Efthimios Bouloutas.

Three other members of the former Laiki Bank residing permanently in Greece will also submit evidence before the head of the investigative group of the greek prosecution authorities.

Spokesman of the police Andreas Angelides told StockWatch that the team of Cypriot investigators will remain in the Greek capital until next Wednesday. Then they will return to Cyprus and will expect to receive the testimonies from the prosecution authorities in Athens through the legal procedures.

Asked whether there was an extensive process of interrogation of former Cypriot members of Laiki Bank, Mr. Angelides answered affirmatively.

Cypriot law enforcement authorities are under pressure to push cases involving the financial system forward, as they are accused of obstructiveness. Last week the Attorney General said that there has been political interference in his work - statements which were mitigated later.

According to information coming from the legal service, one of the main reasons that the process of interrogation of Vgenopoulos and Bouloutas has been delayed was the need to evaluate testimonies of former Cypriot officials (executives and directors) of the CPB, in order to accordingly determine the questionnaire which was submitted to the investigating team of Athens.

Mr. Angelides explained that Cypriot investigators will be present at the trial process without having the right to speak but they will be able to make clarifications.

The SEC imposed heavy fines in June 2014 for the way the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank handled greek bond purchases.

The SEC had imposed a fine of € 1,05 mn. to Laiki Bank and € 950 thousand to the Bank of Cyprus.

A fine of € 705 thousand each was imposed to former officials of Laiki Andreas Vgenopoulos and Efthimios Bouloutas while Christos Stylianides and Panagiotis Kounnis were called to pay € 430 thousand each and others from € 90 thousand to € 200 thousand.

According to the president of SEC Demetra Kalogerou, SEC’s finding occurred in accordance with European directives and showed that Mr. Vgenopoulos and other senior officials of former CPB, manipulated the market hiding substantial and important information from investors and shareholders regarding the high risk that Greek bonds entailed in 2010 and 2011.

Based on what has came to light until today, it remains unknown whether the investigating authorities are examining important aspects of the banking collapse, such as granting loans of hundreds of millions to entrepreneurs with collaterals of dubious value.