An Athens misdemeanors court ruled that three executives of Marfin Bank were guilty of manslaughter of three bank employees who died during a fire, when the bank they worked in was attacked by arsonists during anti-austerity protests in May 2010.
The CEO of Marfin Bank, the head of bank security and the manager of Stadiou branch were found guilty of manslaughter through negligence and causing bodily harm. The CEO and bank security head were given jail sentences of 22 years, the branch manager five years.
The convicts were not jailed as the sentences were suspended pending the outcome of their appeal.
They were set free after paying 30,000 euro in bail.
Paraskevi Zoulia, 34, Angeliki Papathanasopoulou (who was pregnant in the fourth month), 32, and Epaminondas Tsakalis, 36, died in the Marfin Bank branch on Stadiou St in central Athens after hooded assailants hurled firebombs at the three-store neoclassical building during an anti-austerity protest on 5. May 2010.
The three died of smoke inhalation.
During the trial of the bank staff, the court heard that in spite of previous attacks and warnings regarding the branch, executives had failed to take the requisite safety measures.
“Relatives of the deceased had told the court that as violent incidents had occurred near the bank at previous demonstrations, employees had requested permission to leave work earlier.
The court heard also from two witnesses who said that employees were not allowed to leave the branch when trouble broke out outside and that the building had no emergency exit or fire escape plan.”
I can still recall the dramatic pictures of the other bank employees trying to escape the fire and the smoke, their quotes saying that they were trapped because there was no fire exit and the fire protection system had severe deficiencies.
Nobody has yet been charged for causing the blaze despite a trial of suspects who were caught after the incident that cost the life of three adults and an unborn baby and shook the Greek public opinion.