Former Cyprus central bank chief Christodoulos Christodoulou faces eleven charges of tax fraud, conspiracy and forgery and was released on a 5,000 euro bail on Wednesday, pending trial which is expected to be heard on June 27.
Christodoulou, his daughter Athina, her estranged husband and former Laiki Bank executive Andreas Kizourides and the family-owned company AC Christodoulou Consultants Ltd. are alleged to have received an amount of 1 mln euros from Focus Maritime Corporation in Greece and not declared it in their accounts between 2007 and 2009, while taxable dividends reported were nearly a tenth of the actual amount, according to state prosecutor Andreas Aristeides.
Nicosia District court Judge Phani Kapetaniou has also asked the Greek authorities to investigate the reasons for the money transfer and if there had been any trade-off related to the deal.
One of the charges also suggests that the amount was transferred to Athina Christodoulou’s account less than two months after her father left the central bank.
Press reports have alleged that the real beneficiary behind the Focus deal is former Laiki boss Andreas Vgenopoulos whose Marfin Investment Group has been named in several inquiries probing the collapse of the island’s banking system due to unprecedented lending with little or no security to business associates.
Vgenopoulos has so far refused to appear in court related to other cases involving Laiki Bank, nor has he responded to calls from the House Ethics Committee to present his case.
Christodoulos Christodoulou issued a statement later on Wednesday denying all the charges against him, that he is innocent and saying he had great faith in the Cyprus legal system.
“I have neither stolen, nor been bribedor ever received anything else. My conscience is clear and I have done nothing to be ashamed of. Others should be ashamed,” he said.
Focus Maritime Corporation was also mentioned as being a major donor to the ixsland’s two leading parties – the Democratic Rally (DISY) affiliated to the European Popular Party, and the communist AKEL, affiliated to the NGL-United Left alliance within the European Parliament.
DISY was reported to have received 500,000 euros and AKEL 1.5 mln, embarrassing both parties and destroying the credibility of their leaders who are vying to win any number of the six seats allocated to Cyprus. DISY had two MEPs and AKEL another two.
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