Angelos Filippidis, the former head of Hellenic Postbank who was arrested in Istanbul after Greek authorities said he was wanted in connection with a bad loan scheme at the failed state bank he ran, was released by a Turkish court even though Greece had asked he be extradited.
Unless he returns to Greece voluntarily or taken into custody again, he is free and would not be prosecuted in a growing probe into the authorization of 500 million euros ($676.05 million) worth of unsecured loans.
A Greek couple wanted in the scandal who turned themselves in to British authorities after being the subject of a worldwide hunt with the help of Interpol were released almost as soon as they surrendered on Jan. 22 with the promise they won’t become fugitives again.
Kyriakos Griveas and his wife Anastasia Vatsika were freed on the equivalent of 61,000 euros bail each and restrictive conditions including that they surrender their passports as well as their children’s and must report to a police station three times a week, unless they disappear again.
The pair were charged by Greek prosecutors with pocketing as much as 17 million euros ($22.98 million) and the money is still unaccounted for and unless they, too, return voluntarily or are re-arrested and extradited, are also free to escape prosecution.
Filippidis was arrested in Istanbul on Jan. He is accused of breach of faith, fraud and money laundering but denies the charges. He argues that he was intending to return to Greece to answer authorities’ questions when he was arrested but had to be tracked down in Turkey when authorities traced his cell phone calls. He had 25,000 euros and a Swiss residency permit on him.
SKAI TV reported that the court in Istanbul deemed that the extradition request was not legal. However, a second warrant for Filippidis arrest and extradition has been issued but it wasn’t explained why that would be legal if the first one wasn’t.
A total of 25 people have been charged with fraud and money laundering in connection with the scandal miring TT, which issued half a billion euros in suspicious loans between 2007 and 2012, according to a prosecutor’s report.
The bulk of this – some 300 million euros in loans – was issued between the fall of 2008 and fall 2009, when Filippidis was at the lender’s helm, according to Bank of Greece inspectors.
Investigators said they found 14 million euros in various secret foreign bank accounts in Filippidis’ name. They said the probe uncovered a series of bribes and kickbacks, and at least three prominent businessmen that benefited from the scheme are under arrest.
Police asked Swiss authorities to open Filippidis’ accounts at HSBC Private Bank, Banque Privee and other institutions as they seek to examine the origin of his wealth.