Shipowner Restis in custody over bank loans to his firms

Shipowner Victor Restis is due to submit a written deposition on Friday after being arrested on Tuesday on charges of embezzlement and money laundering over loans given by First Business Bank (FBB), where he was chairman, to his group of companies.

Sources said Athens magistrate Rea Katsiveli issued an arrest warrant for Restis based on a prosecutor’s investigation that was launched in January.

The probe also relied on two reports compiled by the Bank of Greece and one by the state’s anti-money laundering authority.

Restis is accused of obtaining under questionable circumstances loans totaling 524 million euros from FBB for his companies and of laundering 5.8 million euros.

National Bank absorbed FBB in May after it was unable to raise private funds as part of the recapitalization process in the Greek banking sector. At the time, FBB’s deposits were valued at 1.24 billion euros and it has a loan portfolio of 1.23 billion euros and other assets worth 152 million euros.

Sources said the Bank of Greece is investigating whether nonperforming loans at FBB were hidden.

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