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Hellenic Postbank Scandal Executives, Businessmen Cleared of Fraud

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yiannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Six years after prosecutors began examining the now-defunct Hellenic Postbank over 400 million euros ($469.25 million) in bad loans and how they were authorized, two former high-ranking executives and three businessmen got off on all charges.

Their trial took three years, common in Greece, the scandal one of a number involving Greek banks and businesses getting loans they didn't pay back with no bankers held accountable.

Judges went along with the recommendation of a prosecutor to drop the cases, citing insufficient evidence of fraud charges against the bank's former head Angelos Filippidis and former vice-chairman Marios Varotsis, said Kathimerini.

Also cleared were businessmen Dimitris Kontominas and his associates Ioannis Rorris and Alexandra Liakopoulou.

There was no evidence, the prosecutor told the court, to suggest that the defendant had deceived the bank’s board into approving hundreds of unsecured loans but no explanation of where the money went from 2007-12.

Filippidis also was accused at one point of having accepted bribes for issuing his approvals, the German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle said in 2014 when the scandal broke, involving 39 people who were then questioned.

Filippidis was detained in Constantinople, leading to speculation, the news site said, that he had put money in Turkish banks and as prosecutors were looking into allegations of secret accounts in Switzerland and Montenegro.

The Greek national bank had warned the Postbank against making unnecessarily risky investments but those were ignored, leading the national stability mechanism to subsidize the losses but the bank still failed.