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Society

Greek Prosecutor Pushes Conviction of Folli Follie Family for Fraud

ATHENS – In a case stalled for years, a prosecutor has asked a court to convict the founder of the Folli Follie jewelry and accessory company Dimitris Koutsoulioutsos and his son Tzortis on a range of charges including fraud.

Two close associates are on trial too and prosecutor Aikaterini Roumbi said they are all guilty of using the company to enrich themselves, the family for money laundering, and market manipulation of the Athens Stock Exchange.

The trial began in early 2022 but criminal charges were first brought more than 4 ½ years and the case kept being pushed back, common in Greece where it can take years to adjudicate even serious alleged crimes.

But Roumbi, without explanation, dropped the charges of forming a criminal organization and fraud, which was the basis for the trial and said seven other defendants should be cleared, including Dimitris’ wife Kaiti Koutsoulioutsos.

The others on trial are former shareholders and executives in the case that authorities earlier said included fraud of ($448.31 million) from the company.

After years of investigations it wasn’t referred to the courts until 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic that saw limited hours of activity with all the defendants who had been detained being released.

The statute of limitations to prosecute is expiring on a number of the accusations brought against Koutsolioutsos and his son after an accounting investigation found that supervisory authorities and the stock market allowed a scam, including embezzlement, to go on from 2000-17.

The court’s President Maria Andreopoulou, took the unprecedented decision in December, 2022 to stop the proceedings after complaining it was being “held hostage” in a legal snafu causing a problem.

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