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Greece's Ex-Securities Chairman Charged over Folli Follie Scandal

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – The long-running scandal around Greece's jewelry and accessory maker Folli Follie now has seen Charalambos Gotsis, former chairman of the Hellenic Capital Market Commission, was charged with breach of duty.

A prosecutor accused him in connection with the 2018 embezzlement case against the company after he allowed its shares to be traded for 21 days before deciding on their suspension to protect shareholders.

That was despite the revelation of wrongdoing that was cited earlier by the American fund Quintessential Capital Management (QCM) which revealed the financial problems the company was facing and money mismanagement.

Prosecutor Spyros Pappas, who is handling the case, also referred to trial ex-chief executive Tzortzis Koutsolioutsos, son of company founder Dimitris Koutsolioutsos, and security director Nikolaos Sakos for moral instigation, said Kathimerini.

An audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers published in December 2020 showed that the company’s major shareholders, the Koutsolioutsos family, conducted a massive fraud scheme for at least 17 years.

That was carried out under what was supposed to be surveillance from the capital markets commission, the company management siphoning off hundreds of millions of euros and getting away with it without prosecution.

In an email included in an audit report between the Folli Follie executives, Gotsis was said to have tried to cover up his alleged mismanagement, giving instructions to make it seem like he was doing his job, the report also said.