€400m crony loans scandal at Hellenic Postbank detailed

Anticorruption prosecutor's report runs to 129 pages

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Hellenic Postbank gave unsecured loans worth €110.5m to insurance and media magnate Dimitri Contominas, owner of Alpha TV and Demco insurance, and €100m to industrialist Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, prosecutor's report says

The full report of an antigraft prosecutor into the €400m crony loans scandal at a former state-owned bank, including the names of the suspects in the case, has been published in the media.

The 129-page document, compiled by Athens deputy anticorruption prosecutor, Popi Papandreou, details how massive loans were granted by Hellenic Postbank to leading businesspeople, without any securities. It also shows how some of this ended up in offshore companies to buy foreign properties abroad.

Prosecutors want to press charges against 25 people, for whom arrest warrents have been issued for seven.

Four people have been taken into custody: Two former deputy managing directors of the bank, Marios Vorotsis and Charalambos Giangoudis; Fotini Kresta, responsible for large business loans; and insurance and media magnate Dimitri Contominas.

The report claims that the chairman of the bank from 2007 to 2009, Angelos Filippidis, played a central role in the scandal by “abusing his position”, estimating that loans to the value of at least €347m were issued “beyond any acceptable banking criteria”.

According to the report, Contominas (74), the owner of Alpha TV and chairman of Demco Insurance, received €110.5m in unsecured loans from October 2008 to 2012.

The loans were not used for business purposes, the document claims, but to buy properties in London for Contominas’ daughter, for example.

The prosecutor also refers to a credit card company, Postcredit, which Hellenic Postbank ran in collaboration with Contominas, alleging that this ended up costing the bank in excess of €130m.

Another prominent businessman named in the report is Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, who has been in pretrial custody for over a year in relation to his involvement in alleged €700m embezzlement from Proton Bank.

Hellenic Postbank lent up to €100m to Lavrentiadis, in his position as head of Alapis pharmaceutical company, without following any risk assessment procedures.

Another beneficiary of unsecured lending at Hellenic Postbank was businessman Kyriakos Griveas and his wife Anastasia Vatsa. According to the report, in 2009 the couple applied for loans worth €27m companies they owned, including C&C International, which was involved in organising medical conferences.

The loans were granted immediately, without any securities or guarantees being offered, even though, according to the prosecutor, the couple’s combined assets at the time were just less than €3m.

Those loans resulted in losses of €17m for the bank.

Former Hellenic Postbank chairman Angelos Filippidis in 2009 (File photo: AFP/Eurokinissi) Former Hellenic Postbank chairman Angelos Filippidis in 2009 (File photo: AFP/Eurokinissi)

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Dimitri Contominas
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Ex-Postbank chief appears before prosecutor