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Former CEO of Greek postal bank returns to face charges

The former head of Greece’s Hellenic Postbank, Angelos Filippidis, left, is led to police headquarters in Athens after his arrest on charges of providing unsecured loans to businessmen during his tenure, on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Melelaos Myrillas)

ATHENS: The former chief executive of the Hellenic Postbank, being investigated over an unsecured loans scandal, returned to Greece on Wednesday to face charges following his arrest in Turkey last month, officials said.

Angelos Filippidis was arrested at Athens airport and will be taken to a prosecutor later in the day, a justice source told AFP.

He had been arrested in Turkey in January under an international warrant and spent the ensuing three weeks in an Istanbul prison.

Filippidis has denied any wrongdoing, noting that the loans were issued with unanimous decisions by the Hellenic Postbank board.

An unsecured loan is particularly advantageous to the borrower since no guarantee or collateral is required.

Over twenty people have been charged in the probe into losses by the bank of over 400 million euros ($541 million).

Among those charged is the head of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund -- charged with maintaining the stability of the Greek banking system -- Anastasia Sakellariou, who was part of a committee that handled the loans under investigation.

Greek authorities have begun getting tough on corruption, bringing to light the extent of fraud before the economy collapsed in 2010.

A minor but well-capitalised lender, Hellenic Postbank took a serious blow in 2012 from a restructuring of Greek sovereign debt.

Its shares were suspended last summer after a run by shareholders following statements from the finance minister that the bank had become "unsustainable".

It was eventually absorbed by Eurobank, one of Greece's four biggest banks.

The Greek banking sector underwent radical restructuring and consolidation last year under the terms of the country's bailout deal with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

 

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