A judicial panel in Greece has decided to send 13 defendants in the Folli Follie case to trial before a three-member Athens criminal appeals court.
The accused include Dimitris Koutsolioutsos, the founder of the jewelry-making company, his wife Katerina, and his son, George (the father and son were ousted from the company’s board in December 2019).
The others are company executives, including those from its Asian subsidiary.
The accused will face trial for setting up a criminal organization; engaging in forgery, with a total benefit and corresponding loss to others of more than 120,000 euros (which raises the charges to a felony); repeated acts of fraud against individuals and legal entities; repeated acts of market manipulation; and money laundering from criminal activities.
Dimitris Koutsolioutsos is additionally accused of insider trading. The judicial panel decided not to send another 16 suspects to trial, while two more have died since the corruption in the company came to light.
Folli Follie is a Greek-based international company which designs, manufactures and distributes luxury jewelry, watches and fashion accessories. The company was established in 1982 in Greece by Koutsolioutsos.
The first shop was in the commercial district of Athens. Folli Follie started out by manufacturing jewelry and in 1994 it launched its line of watches. In 1995 the first overseas store opened, in Japan. It was ranked amongst the top 10 brands in luxury goods in Japan with 80 points of sale.
The company’s design team consists of top Italian, Swiss and Greek designers who work together to present two collections per year: Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. The collection’s highlight is the “Premium K” collection, which includes limited edition jewelry and accessories.
Folli Follie’s philosophy is to offer a “full fashion concept” of branded, modern jewelry, watches and accessories at affordable prices.
Corruption at Folli Follie estimated over €413 million
The panel’s report says that the total loss to individuals and corporations from the actions of the accused is estimated at slightly over €413 million ($482 million), but could be even higher.
The accused have allegedly been forging bank documents in an attempt to show the company was financially robust. One bank account — which they represented as having a balance of €70 million — had only €60.
They are also accused of falsely showing inflated sales in China through phantom companies.
The falsified statements of those companies were sent to Greece, where Dimitris and George Koutsolioutsos asked for them to be consolidated with the balance sheets of the other subsidiaries, in Europe and North America, and the parent company, in Greece, deceiving investors and stock markets and manipulating the share price.
In this way, they also were able to secure large bank loans.
The judges also decided to extend the period of remand of Dimitris and George Koutsolioutsos by six months.