Victims of the “Aspis” collapse are filing mass claims against the state. The victims are accusing the state of ignorance and of covering up the scandal with the insurance group, owned by Pavlos Psomiadis, who is already in prison. According to sources, this will open the "Pandora's Box" for political parties, who have held the position of Minister of Development, Deputy Minister and Chief Secretary in the former Ministry of Trade in the period 2000-2007, as well as for the Minister of Economy in the period of 2007-2009.
The civil claims of the “Aspis” victims are now over 200 and each day another 5 to 7 new claims are being filed, with which the victims want to be compensated, since their total losses exceed 600 million Euros.
As stated in the claims, despite the numerous written notices regarding the bad economic situation of "Aspis", the indifference of the Ministry of Development and later the Supervisory Commission of private insurance have brought hundreds of thousands of insured to a financial catastrophe.
“The Ministry of Development used all means to hide the dire economic straits of the company. The financial condition of the company was falsified with false certificates of solvency, which resulted in a huge number of customers of the company being deceived ", notes the claim of the victims.
The ASPIS BONDS deception
A 2003 official document sent to "Aspis" informs that the Ministry has received 63 written reports on non-compliance and default of the company. The charges were related to the insurance contracts ASPIS BOND, the payment of which was supposed to happen immediately, but "Aspis" was delaying them. As noted by the claimants, this is the "culmination of a mixture of false data and financial statements on which in the period 2000-2002 the Greek State was required to take all necessary preventive measures."
According to the claim, the company's deficits were covered by the insurance policies ASPIS BONDS, because from 2000 onwards "Aspis" has not invested them "in stocks, which its insurance associates have continued to sell”, but has used them in order to cover operating costs and loans, "a fact, which the Ministry of Development could have, and was required to have, easily established.
"The Ministry of Development ‘failed to identify the deficiencies in the insurance company, which were already obvious or it probably had found them, but did not take any preventive measures", point out the victims.
In 2001 the company launched two new investment products (“ASPIS PLUS” and "DK"), which included the initial capital investment plus 4 percent interest, but the 2001 certificate of solvency of the company was issued on 31 October 2002.
"If the Ministry of Development had carried out the proper control, it would have immediately found that there was a deficit", states the claim.
In 2002, the financial problems of "Aspis" deepened. With the 2001 proceeds from ASPIS BOND (amounting to 66 million Euros) the company had to buy shares for the insured persons, but instead it used 42 million Euros for other obligations and to cover their losses and reserve contracts from 2000. The claimants emphasize that if the Ministry of Development "had performed the mandatory checks, it would have verified this irregularity in time.
Since "Aspis" did not have sufficient capital, the company "invented the insurance product ASPIS PLUS” and “all policyholders who wanted to buy ASPIS BOND were forced to turn it into ASPIS PLUS.” "With completely misleading estimates, adopted by the Ministry of Development, the company increased its capital by artificially defunct virtual sum of 27 million Euros, changing its financial results with the tacit consent of the Ministry", note victims.
In 2003 the illegal (according to the victims) decision was made to transfer 30 million Euros of the "equity capital variable" of the "Aspis – Consortium” JSC company and to replace them with bonds of equal value, with a five year deadline and a 5 percent interest. The money was used for establishing and increasing the share capital of other companies, although the balance of "Aspis", "showed a financially stable company, with the tacit consent of the Ministry of Development", indicate the victims.
In 2003, customers of the insurance company made it public that "the company is unable to meet its financial obligations and such signals continue from 2004 to 2009, but both “Aspis" and the State continue to conceal all irregularities and problems."
In 2004 the company proceeded to increase its capital and adjust the value of immovable property "by arbitrarily increasing the value by 50 million Euros." In 2005, auditors found that the insurance policies ASPIS BONDS, ASPIS PLUS and DK were not being invested and no shares were being bought. Also that "a financial risk forecast amounting to 70 million Euros, was formed, which could not be covered by property". The “Aspis” collapse victims talk of "gross systematic violations that have found fertile ground for development since the supervisor had not carried out the necessary control."