ATHENS – The sale of five Piraeus Bank properties to a Cypriot firm have been tied to the family of the bank’s former chairman Michalis Sallas, who should be charged with wrongdoing, Greece’s anti-money laundering agency said.
“There are strong indications that Mr. Sallas and other members of Piraeus management who participated in the deals are guilty of malfeasance,” the agency said, referring to Sallis, who has denied any guilt and said the deals, which cost the bank 6.4 million euros ($7.91 million) happened when he wasn’t the chairman.
The report was cited by the financial news agency Bloomberg about the 2016 deals. He stepped down in July that year.
The properties, which had been sold in 2003 to companies “linked to Sallas or members of his family” and then repurchased in 2006 by Piraeus, were offloaded to the Cypriot company in 2016 using loans from the bank, Bloomberg cited the report as saying.
The transactions, which involved funds going through a series of intermediate companies, showed the lender was “breaching prudent banking methods,” resulting in a financial hit for the bank, the regulator was quoted as saying.
The body’s report on Piraeus Bank, dated November 2, is the third study into the bank’s property transactions which the agency has followed and included an audit by the Bank of Greece which in September, 2017 said it was looking into suspected wrongdoing at the bank over writing down bad loans and breaches of capital controls that have been in place since he summer of 2015.