Millions disappear from bank vault in Kalamata

Police and senior bank officials were yesterday investigating the mysterious disappearance of nearly 6 million euros from the strongroom of a Bank of Greece (BoG) branch in the southern town of Kalamata. The theft, which was noticed on Friday afternoon and made public by the country’s central bank on Saturday, is reportedly being treated as a case of embezzlement, as the vault showed no signs of forced entry. According to a BoG statement, the head of the Kalamata branch notified his superiors in Athens on Friday that an inspection of the bank’s reserves in the strongroom revealed 5.65 million euros to be missing. This was later upgraded to 5.9 million. Police and judicial authorities were notified and a team of BoG inspectors was sent to the southern town to conduct an internal investigation, while Deputy BoG Governor Nikos Palaiokrassas arrived in Kalamata on Saturday. Describing the theft as a «particularly audacious act,» the bank said tight security had been in force, including armed guards on 24-hour duty and CCTV surveillance. «The vault was secured by more than one security lock and a combination of code numbers, and was always opened in the presence of more than one bank employee,» it said.