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Shipping tycoon arrested on charges of money laundering

23 July 2013 / 20:07:58  GRReporter
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Shipping tycoon Victor Restis was arrested for embezzlement and money laundering. The funds belonged to First Business Bank (FBB) which is owned by his family. The prosecutor’s office and the service to combat the legalization of illegal funds are investigating questionable loans to the amount of 524 million euro granted by FBB. The sum of 5.8 million euro is related to Restis himself.

Currently, the Bank of Greece is checking the movement of the funds of the loans under investigation. The supervisory authorities have found out that part of the granted funds have been allocated to an offshore company, behind which the owner of FBB is hiding. In the middle of this May, FBB passed into the hands of the National Bank of Greece (NBG) within the consolidation process of the financial sector. Shortly before the takeover of FBB, its management had presented some of the loans as "good" at a time when they had not been repaid.

The management of FBB and the Restis family have sent an open address to the media in which they express their approval of the legal proceedings. "Victor Restis declares his willingness to facilitate the authorities to open all bank accounts and to clarify where the money has gone and who has really benefited from the transactions made," reads the statement.

According to Eleftheros Typos newspaper, the data of the Bank of Greece as of March 2013 showed that the liabilities of FBB amounted to nearly 1.4 billion euro. Of these, 1.2 billion euro were in deposits and 1.62 billion euro were other obligations. The assets amounted to 1.3 billion euro, 1.2 billion of which had been granted as loans. Public information shows that the Financial Stability Fund has covered the additional amount required for the bank recapitalization after the merger with the NBG.

The online edition indicates that Restis is the head of the shipping holding Restis Group. He is the owner of Enterprise Shipping & Trading which operates 98 freighters and tankers. The businessman owns 33% of the shipping company FreeSeas and is the full owner of the cruise company Delphin Voyager.

The same publication reports that Restis is ranked 56th in the Lloyd's List of the most influential people in the shipping business and some of his companies are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, the businessman holds shares of the media group of MEGA TV, NICKELODEON and of the Greek daily To Proto Thema.

Tags: EconomyCrime newsRestisArrest
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