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600 Million Vanishes From Greek Bank?

An audit released recently by the Bank of Greece accuses Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, the head of Proton Bank, of embezzlement, corruption, and fraud. Prosecutors allege that Lavrentiadis turned Proton Bank into a criminal enterprise, eventually stealing over 600 million euros. All this took place during Greece’s financial scramble, while the government was borrowing millions of dollars abroad and facing riots at home.

Via Meadia has commented on the corruption in Greece’s banking system before. Systemic dishonesty by rich Greeks benefiting from corporatist links to a deeply dysfunctional state is one of the root causes of the Greek agony.  The Greek banking system served less as an efficient and transparent mechanism of capital allocation than as a vehicle to preserve the power of hidden private interests. Both Greek parties were deeply complicit in this nest of corruption and special dealing and cleaning up this mess, if done properly, is going to destroy a lot of careers.

Mr, Lavrentiadis has as yet not been formally charged with financial crimes and no doubt he has a story to tell. But if the allegations against him are true, he should not get off lightly — and there is room in the Greek prison system for many more like him. Punishing powerful thieves and con artists has to be part of any lasting change in Greece.  If men like Lavrentiadis don’t end up behind bars, Greek reform will have failed.

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  • Jim.

    Could we please get some statements from the Patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church on these matters? Doesn’t have to be political at all — just someone standing up and saying, “This embezzlement and dishonesty in finance is WRONG, it is a crime against man and sin against God, and enough is enough!”

    It seems like the chuches of the world could and should throw their entire weight behind this, and push our culture in the right direction.

  • Bledy

    You poor [vulgarity removed], the greek church is just another corrupt institution that relies on the government and the rich individuals.

  • Luke Lea

    Isn’t $600 million chicken feed by the standards of this crisis? The more consequential mis-allocation of capital was done by Western banks, whose exposure lies at the root of the crisis. They want to be bailed out just as much as the Greeks.

  • elisa

    I would like to see more crony thieves and con artists punished as part of real lasting change in America, too. too bad that paying off democrats means you can prey on our society with impunity.

  • kerry

    Isn’t “Lavrentis Lavrentiadis” John Corzine translated into Greek?

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