Greek Prosecutor Probed Over Vgenopoulos Leniency

Andreas Vgenopoulos' Cypriot bank collapsed

ATHENS – A prosecutor who blocked a probe into a Greek businessman after the collapse of a bank he owned on Cyprus is now being investigated.

Appeals court prosecutor Georgia Tsatani was ordered to appear before a disciplinary panel to explain her handling of the case of Andreas Vgenopoulos, the main shareholder in Cyprus’s Laiki Bank before it went under.

Customers lost their money and no action was taken against him.

Supreme Court Vice President Aspasia Karelou conducted a three-month probe into how Tsatani handled the case after Cypriot authorities complained about the prosecutor’s decision to shelve the investigation.

In yet another tangle in the convoluted Greek justice system, Tsatani accused Alternate Justice Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos of obstructing her work even though she was going to stop probing Vgenopoulos, who has ties to Greek businesses and politicians.

Tsatani also fought to prevent Supreme Court President Vassiliki Thanou from overseeing the probe that was then handed to Karelou, Kathimerini said.

The Supreme Court judge found that there is evidence to support the argument that Tsatani breached two disciplinary rules during her investigation, including her decision to take the case from the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office, which should have been responsible for the probe.

Vgenopoulos was also a major holder in another bank that was firebombed by anarchists in 2010, killing three people, including a pregnant worker, after he refused to close it during violent demonstrations.

It was not clear whether the case would be reopened if Tsatani was found to be culpable although Greek media said it would although Vgenopoulos has ducked probes before.

He gave Greek authorities a statement about his involvement in the publication of misleading bulletins by the now-defunct lender in 2009 and 2010, the Cyprus Mail said.

After delivering his written deposition, Vgenopoulos told reporters that the case had already been closed by Greek authorities. “This has all been much ado about nothing,” he said.

“We have asked that cases where Greek justice has jurisdiction are tried here. It seems strange to me that Cyprus wants to follow its own proceedings, but incidentally, I was informed that the case has been archived in Greece,” he added.