Insurance firm chief charged

The president of the Aspis Pronia life insurance firm, Pavlos Psomiadis, was yesterday charged with supplying the company’s Greek creditors with a false 550-million-euro letter of guarantee from British bank HSBC in order to keep his business afloat. After an urgent investigation, prosecutor Yiannis Sakellakos issued the felony charges against Psomiadis and banned him from leaving the country pending his trial. Psomiadis denies that the letter was a forgery, insisting that Aspis’s financial director brought it back from the UK. However, HSBC has released a statement saying that it is not a genuine letter of guarantee and has not been issued by the bank. Last week, a regulator revoked the licenses of five insurance companies, four of which were owned by Aspis, for failing to meet the minimum requirements for liquidity. An administrator moved into the Aspis offices yesterday to begin separating the insurance policies so they can be passed on to other insurance firms.