Proton Bank, currently under liquidation, filed a suit on Monday against former major shareholder and board chairman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis and 12 other people, accusing them of a series of criminal-level offences that include breach of faith, fraud, morally instigating and acting as accomplices in these offences, and forming a criminal organisation.
The charges are also made against six members of the bank’s board in 2010-2011, and six other shareholders or representatives of companies involved in questionable loans that forced the bank into liquidation.
The charges, filed with a first-instance court prosecutor, relate to unsafe loans approved by Proton Bank while it was under Lavrentiadis’ direction to companies owned by the 38-year-old businessman, without ensuring protection of the bank’s interests. The total amount of the loans was about 700 million euros, of which 451 million euros remain outstanding even after liquidation.
The suit claims that upon acquiring 31.3 percent of the bank in December 2009, Lavrentiadis orchestrated a massive increase of credit expansion in the business portfolio, with the sums directed mainly at newly-formed domestic and offshore firms – some of them lacking any business activity – that were financed to buy sections of the firms Alapis and ELFE, owned by Lavrentiadis.
The case will be handled by first-instance court prosecutor Ioannis Dragatsis, who is also conducting the investigation into the sum of the loans given to Lavrentiadis.