Greek businessman arrested over Proton banking scandal

ATHENS Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:37pm EST

ATHENS Dec 13 (Reuters) - Prominent Greek businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis was arrested on Thursday over his alleged involvement in a banking scandal, a court official and a police source said.

Lavrentiadis was arrested at his home in a seaside suburb of Athens. The 40-year-old businessman will appear before a prosecutor on Friday who will decide if he should stay in jail or be released pending trial, the sources said.

Lavrentiadis's arrest was reported by Greece's ANT1 television channel and other local media.

A spokesman for Lavrentiadis was not immediately available for comment. Lavrentiadis has previously denied any wrongdoing.

The police had no comment.

Lavrentiadis began his career in the chemicals industry and then moved into banking and media. A Greek prosecutor filed felony charges against him earlier this year in relation to the collapse of Proton Bank, a small Greek financial institution in which he was the biggest shareholder.

If convicted, he could face life in prison. Another 27 suspected associates, including Proton executives, also face trial.

On Tuesday, a court ordered the confiscation of Lavrentiadis's property and assets, the court official and police source said.

Proton became the first Greek bank to be effectively nationalised after it fell under a bank rescue fund set up by Greece and its international lenders.

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