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EUROPE > Greek banker Filippidis sought for embezzlement detained in Istanbul

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One of the former chairs of the Hellenic Postbank, Angelos Filippidis was sought with a red notice for embezzlement. REUTERS file photo

One of the former chairs of the Hellenic Postbank, Angelos Filippidis was sought with a red notice for embezzlement. REUTERS file photo

Greek banker Angelos Filippidis, one of the main suspects of an embezzlement scheme regarding the Greek state bank Postbank, which was shut down last year, has been detained in Istanbul due to a pending red notice by the Interpol.

Turkish authorities today informed Greek officials that Filippidis, one of the former chairs of Postbank's executive committee, was captured in Istanbul. The Turkish police tracked the Greek banker's cell phone and credit cards to get to him.

"I went to Dubai, and while I was preparing to leave for Manila, I found out about the developments regarding Postbank," daily Hürriyet quoted Filippidis as saying. "I was to return to Athens on Monday. I stopped by in Istanbul for a couple of meetings," said Filippidis, who added that he found the Interpol's red notice against him "meaningless."

Preparations have begun for the banker's extradition to Greece, Turkish authorities noted.

Filippidis, one of the main figures in the Postbank scandal, is accused of giving major loans to some businessmen without any assurances. The prosecutors have found out that the banker had more than 1.5 million euros he declared in his bank accounts. As part of the same probe, Greek media baron Dimitris Kondominas was detained for not returning the 110-million-euro loan he received without any assurances.

Filippidis's lawyer, Thanassis Varlamis, told an AFP reporter that the ex-CEO of TT appeared before a Turkish magistrate on Saturday and asked to return to his country in order to face questioning.

"My client showed an air-ticket he had already issued on Friday for an Athens-bound flight scheduled for Monday," he said.

Filippidis has previously denied any wrongdoing.

"All the loans were issued with unanimous decisions by the board and all the procedures were respected," Filippidis told Skai Radio on Thursday.

"If I could turn back time, I would issue them again today," he said.

He also claimed that the Hellenic Postbank's bad-loan ratio was far lower than that of other bigger Greek banks.

The state-run Athens News Agency said that according to judicial documents, the losses are said to exceed 400 million euros ($549 million).

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

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

January/11/2014

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