British authorities said that Kyriakos Griveas and his wife Anastasia Vatsika, who were subjects of a worldwide hunt and being sought with the help of Interpol as Greek officials said they had absconded with as much as 17 million euros in bad loans as part of a scandal enveloping the failed state-run Hellenic Postbank turned themselves in on Jan. 22.
Scotland Yard said the couple showed up around 12:30 p.m. London time after reportedly having negotiated with Greek officials to surrender without being arrested as fugitives, as they said they wanted to return to Greece.
Greek prosecutors said the pair was given 19.8 million euros ($26.8 million) in unsecured loans from the bank, also known as TT, without collateral and despite having less than three million euros in property value. Greek investigators had frozen their assets and asked judicial authorities to access their personal and corporate accounts.
Investigators said they wanted 15 million euros of the loans to buy businesses they already owned while they had used 2.5 million euros for advertising and also used proceeds for another company they owed.
Officials said they got 17 million euros in March and July of 2009 for a new company they created, C & C International for commercial hotels as part of a plan to attract conventions, particularly medical.
Earlier, Greek investigators said they had found 14 million euros ($18.95 million) in various secret foreign bank accounts in the name of the former chairman of the bank as a growing probe has reportedly found a series of bribes and kickbacks and at least three prominent businessmen who reportedly benefited from a bad loan scheme.
The three, two Greeks and one Cypriot, reportedly received loans between 2008 and 2009, when TT, was chaired by Angelos Filippidis, who is awaiting extradition from Turkey, where he was apprehended after using his cell phone to call Greek TV to defend himself. It was reported he had 25,000 euros and a Swiss residency permit on him.
Authorities are trying to track money flows in Montenegro as officials in the Balkan country have shared information on one of the figures who is believed to have played a key role in the case between 2007 and 2008, it was said.
Besides examing Filippidis’s assets at Millennium Bank, investigators have also reportedly asked Swiss authorities to open his accounts at HSBC Private Bank, Banque Privee and other institutions as they seek to scrutinize the source of his wealth and how it was obtained.
Some 29 people have already been arrested in a purported scheme to defraud the bank through more than 500 million euros ($677 million) in bad loans given without collateral and even to companies with huge debts.