ECONOMY

ETBA embezzlement probe

The two-year investigation of the case of embezzlement at ETBA Finance is nearing completion. Three of the people involved in the misappropriation of 33.4 million euros have been jailed, but the main culprit is still on the run. Seven other individuals have been charged and conditionally set free. The three persons jailed are the former managing director of ETBA Finance, Spyros Stefanatos; the former treasury head, Dimitris Fragodimitropoulos and Dimitris Cabanelis, a collaborator of Giorgos Dimitriadis, the alleged mastermind of the embezzlement who has eluded capture so far. ETBA Finance was a subsidiary of the state-controlled National Bank for Industrial Development (ETBA), which has since been acquired by Piraeus Bank. Dimitriadis has been charged with a series of forgeries aimed at personal gain and for embezzlement in association with Cabanelis. Each of these charges could lead to life imprisonment if those charged are convicted. Stefanatos and Fragodimitropoulos are charged as accessories to embezzlement, acting in concert, a lesser charge. The amount was embezzled, in several installments, from a fund aimed at aiding small and medium-sized enterprises in financial straits. It was decided that the stolen money would be reimbursed by Piraeus Bank and the State, each contributing half of the amount. The Economy and Finance Ministry has already deposited 16.7 million euros in a special account at the Bank of Piraeus. The investigating magistrate in charge of the case is expected to finalize her report by mid-March. The trial will begin shortly afterward.