Trial of energy executives to resume on February 5

The trial of 19 executives from two energy companies that are accused of defrauding the state is due to resume on February 5 after the suspects proposed on their first day in court Friday to return 103 million euros.

The Hellas Power and Energa executives are accused of withholding from the state 257 million euros they had collected from customers in payment for a property tax that was levied through electricity bills. The suspects are disputing the figure and have offered to return just over 100 million euros. They are seeking to take advantage of a recent law that allows courts to hand down more lenient sentences for financial crimes if money has been paid back into public coffers.

Greece’s anti-money laundering authority froze the two companies’ bank accounts in February 2012 following an investigation into their activities. The two firms, which resold electricity provided by the Public Power Corporation, were founded amid efforts to increase competition in the energy market.