Greece’s corruption prosecutor has brought criminal charges against 30 former executives of the now defunct Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) for approving loans over a 10-year period to construction company ATTIKAT as well as to a private citizen who did not meet the necessary requirements.
The cost incurred by the bank is estimated at 80,000,000 euros. The loans were granted over a period from April 2000 until June 2010.
According to the prosecutor’s investigation, and a report by the Bank of Greece, the loans were given without the borrowers providing the necessary collateral and guarantees.
The charges refer to infidelity, direct synergy to money laundering, incitement to infidelity and money laundering.
The overall loan activities of the bank are being scrutinized as part of an ongoing investigation, with dozens of Agricultural Bank loans cases to be pending.
“Former Anti-Corruption Minister Panagiotis Nicoloudis had talked about loans amounting to 5.5 billion euros from this bank to big entrepreneurs to media owners,” writes capital.gr.
The first charges were raised two years ago against 27 employees of the Agricultural Bank for a 52-million-euro loan to a meat merchant in Boetia in the time period 2007-2011. According to a report prepared by the Bank of Greece, the total loss for the bank was 52 million euros. In 2007-2011 “the bank employees responsible for big customers proceeded to the loan under certain conditions and without sufficient guarantees, despite the fact that they were aware of the dire financial situation of the borrowing company, thus damaging the bank.”
Founded in 1929, the Agricultural Bank of Greece bank failed the Eurozone stress test in July 2010, which required 6% Tier 1 capital to be maintained after the test. An increase in the Bank’s share capital took place in July 2011, amounting to €1.3 billion.
The good parts of the bank were taken over by Piraeus Bank in 2012, but its branches continued to bear the ATEbank corporate image until the summer of 2013.