April 13, 2014 by freesoul4europe
HEAD OF GREECE BAILOUT FUND ARRESTED FOR FRAUD + ML
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Head of Greek bank rescue fund charged with money-laundering
The head of the fund set up by Greece’s international creditors to rescue the country’s banking system has been charged with committing fraud and money-laundering in her previous job, a court official said on Friday.
Anastasia Sakellariou, chief executive of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, was named as one of 25 former executives and customers of Hellenic Postbank accused of involvement in a loan scam that resulted in €500m of losses for the bank. She could not be reached for comment
Ms Sakellariou was chief risk officer at state-controlled Postbank – also known as TT – in 2011-2012, before being appointed last January to head the HFSF. She had previously worked for Credit Suisse and Greece’s Piraeus Bank.
The prosecutor’s 150-page report on the case, leaked to local media on Friday, exposes a web of unsecured loans made by Postbank to leading Greek businessmen and its own executives between 2007 and 2012, despite a worsening credit squeeze as the country moved into deep recession.
Most of the doubtful loans issued by Postbank were “not used to finance or expand business activities but to increase the personal wealth of the businessmen who received them . . . and not a single euro was repaid,” the report said.
In addition, loans to senior Postbank executives were channelled to offshore companies that later invested in properties in Greece, it added.
Asked by local media about the case, finance minister Yannis Stournaras said: “I have full confidence in the Greek justice system but I also have full confidence in Ms Sakellariou, in her ethics, professional competence and the work she has done until now.”
A court official said Ms Sakellariou was not among six people arrested in the case so far.
The HFSF said in a statement its chief executive would remain in her post. “The investigation is obviously continuing and will eventually be judged by the Greek judicial system,” it said, adding: “The HFSF and Ms Sakellariou are continuing their efforts to ensure the security and stability of the financial system.”
Postbank was sold to Athens-based Eurobank last July after the HFSF stripped out its bad loans and provided €4.5bn of fresh capital from Greece’s second €172bn bailout by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
The scandal was revealed as the HFSF prepares to privatise Eurobank in what would be the first sale of a Greek bank since the country’s four largest lenders were recapitalised last year with €38bn of bailout money.
Dimitris Kontominas, one of Greece’s most prominent financiers and owner of Alpha, a leading private television station, is accused of failing to provide adequate guarantees and collateral for loans from Postbank. He was arrested while in hospital for treatment for a lung condition. Mr Kontominas denied wrongdoing.
Companies controlled by Mr Kontominas allegedly received €110m in loans between 2008 and 2012 “in disregard of the bank’s own internal procedures, normal bank lending practices and accepted loan criteria,” the report said.
A €100m loan was made in 2009 to companies controlled by Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, then a leading entrepreneur with interests in pharmaceuticals, healthcare and media. Mr Lavrentiades was jailed last year to await trial on charges of fraud, money-laundering and running a criminal gang.
An arrest warrant was also issued for Angelos Filippidis, Postbank’s former chairman who was travelling in the US. Mr Filippidis, now working as a financial consultant, denied wrongdoing in an interview with a Greek television station and said he would return to Greece to clear his name.