Greece ‘s Alpha TV owner Dimitris Kontominas, one of 25 people arrested in a probe into 500 million euros in bad loans at the failed state-owned Hellenic Postbank was released from custody on Jan. 15 on five million euros bail and orders he not leave country and must report to police twice a month.
He had been hospitalized with breathing problems since his arrest earlier this week. A three-judge panel, by a vote of 2-1, decided he didn’t have to be jailed pending trial.
Prosecutor Popi Papandreou argued unsuccessfully he was a potential flight risk because he owns shares in an aircraft company, even though it’s inactive.
In a 129-page report, investigators alleged that Kontominas, who also owns Interamerican insurance, received €110.5 million ($150.24 million) 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 €130 million, about $176.74 million.
His lawyer argued that his client wasn’t a flight risk or he would have already left the country and that it was known an investigation was underway into Postbank. Kontominas earlier said he’d done nothing wrong.
He said Kontominas had been out of the country but returned the night before New Year’s Eve, and that the media owner had faced even more restrictive conditions previously and always complied.
The lawyer told the three judges his client operated businesses with 1,500 workers and that he wanted good cooperation with the banks and was trying to work out a solution with the institution. If his client were jailed, his businesses would collapse, the lawyers argued.
The judges were also told that Kontominas has serious health issues and has given power of attorney to the bank to register property worth seven million euros and due loans of five million euros that were due. Kontominas also said he would pledge his shares in Alpha.
Kontominas said he had guaranteed 110 million euros of the loans. Papandreou though said Kontominas holds shares in an aircraft company, although it’s inactive. The scandal has been big Greek news.