Business executive and former banking chief Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, saying he was too ill to remain in jail, has filed a request with the special magistrate probing his case file asking to be released on bail.
Details of his condition were not given although he was briefly hospitalized following his arrest on Dec. 13 and then taken to a psychiatric hospital for a brief stay before being transferred to Korydallos Prison.
Lavrentiadis, who owned a controlling stake in the failed Proton Bank that was nationalized after more than 700 million euros ($928.7 million) in questionable loans were discovered, is accused by authorities of being a member of an “organized team” that stole the bank’s money to finance his companies.
Lavrentiadis, 40, who began his career in the chemicals industry and then moved into banking and media, is among the most high-profile Greek businessmen to be charged since Greece sank into a debt crisis, and his arrest comes amid growing public anger at a political and business elite blamed for dragging the country close to financial ruin, although he said he is being put up as a sacrificial goat for Greece’s economic problems.
A Greek prosecutor filed felony charges against him earlier this year in relation to the collapse of Proton Bank, a small Greek financial institution. Lavrentiadis has denied any wrongdoing. In a statement, he said the decision to jail him did not take into account his health issues and that the charges against him were built on a biased and wrong report from Greece’s central bank.
“My health problems were ignored,” he said. “The justice system is responsible now for anything that might happen to me,” he said. If convicted, he could face life in prison. Another 27 suspected associates, including Proton executives, also face trial. A court ordered the confiscation of Lavrentiadis’ property and assets, a court official said.