ATHENS – With his release date pending because no trial has been set, a Greek prosecutor has asked for a world-record 100 million euros ($137 million) before a banker accused of embezzlement of 700 million euros ($959.8 million) and ordering the murder of a business rival be let go on the promise he won’t flee.
Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, the former major stakeholder in the failed Proton Bank that went under because of another bad loan scheme in Greek banks, is approaching the maximum 18 months in detention that suspects can be held before being released unless they go to trial.
With court cases years behind schedule because of a backlog and short working days, most all suspects have to be released although the government last year kept a terrorist suspect in jail beyond that time until he went on a hunger strike and nearly died before being let go. He has since vanished.
Lavrentiadis is due to be released from the high-security Korydallos Prison in June, but with a rash of scandals in Greece, including another at the also-failed state-owned Hellenic Postbank that prosecutors said involved 500 million euros ($685 million) – and in which the former chairman who was charged was also released on bail – prosecutors said they want assurances Lavrentiadis won’t walk away as well.
It hasn’t been explained where his money is or if he has a stash that hasn’t been seized.
In his proposal to the Council of Appeals Court Judges, Appeals Court Prosecutor Panayiotis Kapsimalis said the 100 million euros, which he insisted Lavrentiadis possesses, should be paid in addition to the 160 million euros ($219.2 million) in assets belonging to the businessman that have already been seized.
The highest bail to date in Greece was the 5 million euros ($6.85 million) paid last month by businessman Dimitris Kontominas to secure his release pending trial in connection with the Hellenic PostBank (TT) unsecured loans scandal in which Lavrentiadis is also implicated.
The newspaper Kathimerini said it was told by sources it didn’t identify that Kapsimalis proposed that 29 of the 47 suspects who face criminal charges in connection with the Proton Bank embezzlement scandal should be indicted to trial along with Lavrentiadis. Of the 29, the prosecutor said that four individuals should post 200,000 euros in bail each.
Lavrentiadis, 43, has been in Attica’s Korydallos Prison since December 2012. For most of that time, he has been in the prison’s hospital and has made several unsuccessful appeals for his release complaining of skin problems and unspecified psychological ailments so he wouldn’t have to be in a jail cell.
In October, 2013, a magistrate ordered Lavrentiadis remanded in custody on charges of being the moral accomplice in the attempted murder of a 43-year-old entrepreneur who sustained serious injuries when a bomb sent to his home in Vouliagmeni, south of Athens, exploded in his hands in June 2012.
The magistrate issued her decision after visiting Lavrentiadis at Korydallos where she questioned him for several hours in connection with last year’s bomb assault which Lavrentiadis is alleged to have ordered following a personal dispute with the other businessman.