Greek Prosecutor Wants Ex-Media Tycoon Cleared of Bank Fraud

Stavros Psycharis (R). (Photo by Eurokinissi/Christos Bonis)

ATHENS – With Greek banks buried under bad loans and state-run banks having collapsed for handing out money that wasn’t paid back, a Greek prosecutor has recommended one of the country’s biggest media bosses be acquitted of getting 45 million euros ($50.2 million) in loans.

The money was used by Stavros Psycharis, 74, former President of the Lambrakis Press Group (DOL) to purchase shares in the company but was given without submitting required collateral and guarantees, said Kathimerini.

Ten executives of Alpha Bank charged with failing to comply with bank regulations should also be cleared said the prosecutor, who wasn’t named, because she said there was no harm to the bank despite the violation of the law.

She added that the loans were legal as they aimed to prevent the collapse of the media group and the layoff of 2,500 workers without explaining why that was reason to ignore the alleged crime.

In 2016, a court said Psycharis, who kept complaining he was ill and didn’t want to show up to face charges, would be prosecuted on charges of tax evasion and money laundering afer an audit showed the loan wasn’t declared in his finances.

That came after his trial on charges of submitting inaccurate source of income then was postponed the declared deemed it was unclear whether the inaccuracies were accidental or the result of deceit. A court will decide on the prosecutor’s recommendation.

DOL operates the flagship newspaper To Vima and Ta Nea as well as the news portal In.gr, the radio station Vima Fm 99.5 and the magazines MarieClaire, Cosmopolitan and Vita.

The media group came under the control of wealthy shipowner Evangelos Marinakis in 2017.