Greek Judges Extradite Businessman Michael Zolotas to Cyprus

Laiki Bank 708

The Greek Council of Appeals Court on Tuesday reached a verdict concerning the extradition of Greek businessman Michael Zolotas to Cyprus. Zolotas is allegedly connected to a bribe paid by his company to former Cypriot Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou. Reports focus on the connection between Zolotas and businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos who was also being examined for the case, but who died of a heart attack in an Athens private hospital on Saturday.

Zolotas’ company, Focus Maritime, allegedly acted as a liaison between Vgenopoulos and Christodoulou in the transaction. The bribe was paid to Christodoulou so that the central banker would turn a blind eye to Vgenopoulos’ acquisition of a controlling stake in Cyprus’ Popular (Laiki) Bank. The Cypriot bank was acquired via Marfin Investment Group.

The Greek businessman allegedly involved in the bribe transaction turned himself in to authorities after a European arrest warrant was issued when he failed to turn up in a court in Nicosia. He had appealed the decision for his extradition, however, on Tuesday it was decided he should go to Cyprus to face charges for his involvement.