New probe into Proton loans

First instance prosecutor Yiannis Dragatsis on Monday called businessman and main shareholder in Proton Bank Lavrentis Lavrentiadis to answer questions relating to allegedly questionable loans of some 700 million euros made by the lender to his group of companies.

Another six members of the bank?s board and credit committee have been asked to give evidence. Sources said that up to 20 people are to be investigated as part of the probe.

On October 10, Proton Bank was the first lender to be nationalized under the Financial Stability Fund. Proton, with a network of 31 branches, had a market value of about 11 million euros at the end of the first quarter.

Lavrentiadis was the subject of a prosecutor?s investigation in the summer over a 51-million-euro withdrawal at Proton Bank. The probe determined that the money was paid to the businessman?s group of companies, including pharmaceutical firm Alapis. Lavrentiadis denied any wrongdoing and returned the money.