Criminal charges are set to be filed at the Nicosia Criminal Court against controversial ex-Laiki Bank boss Andreas Vgenopoulos and disgraced former Cyprus Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou over their alleged role in the Focus Maritime Corporation payment case.
According to police reports, both men will be charged on the indictment along with another eight persons and legal entities from Greece and Cyprus. The indictment is expected to be filed at the Nicosia Criminal Court next week before fresh arrest warrants are most likely issued against the accused.
The charges reportedly point to the alleged bribing of various politicians and key officials – including that of Christodoulou – by Focus, a company owned by Michalis Zolotas who is a close friend and associate of Vgenopoulos.
Vgenopoulos is seen by many as being responsible for the collapse of Laiki Bank back in 2013 with many pundits accusing the Greek business tycoon of also playing a hand in the financial collapse of the island’s banking sector.
He has so far managed to evade attempts by Cypriot prosecutors to extradite him to the island to face other charges in the economic meltdown enquiry but is now expected to brace for a new, fresh wave of efforts from Nicosia to force the hand of the Greek authorities.
Christodoulou had been jailed recently in Greece after being found guilty of charges relating to tax evasion – for a €1milllion payment he had received from Focus – but will now face charges of illegal activity as a result of the payment for services by the same company.
Christodoulou had claimed that the payment had been a “consultancy fee”.
Investigators say more funds from Focus may have passed through the hands of Christodoulou to other political and government figures.
Last year, Attorney General Costas Clerides say that the island’s main political parties – Akel and Disy – had received millions of euros in pre-election payments by Focus describing the payments “unethical but not illegal”.