Prosecutors have reportedly found that more than 10 companies set up with minimal capital received millions of euros in loans from Proton Bank that later came under the control of its main shareholder, Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, who has been charged with multiple counts of wrongdoing and been jailed pending trial.
The newspaper Kathimerini reported it had seen the case file and that it claimed Proton lent to several companies that then came under the control of Cyprus-based Mideas Holdings Ltd, which was allegedly owned by Lavrentiadis.
The firms involved included Novo Arteus, which received 72 million ($94.96 million) euros in loans despite having a share capital of just 60,000 euros ($79,134.) MAK Pharmaceuticals borrowed 70 million euros ($92.32 million) with the same share capital. The case file also outlines how Lavrentiadis allegedly undermined the bank’s oversight process.
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.