In a recent landmark decision dated September 13, 2023, the Supreme Court has ordered the release of assets totaling more than 5.3 billion euros belonging to three former directors of Marfin Laiki Bank. The assets had been frozen by a decree issued by the District Court of Nicosia in May 2014.
The frozen assets included 3.79 billion euros belonging to Andreas Vgenopoulos and Efthymios Bouloutas, with an additional 1.5 billion euros linked to Kyriakos Magiras. Alongside these individuals, Marfin Investment Holdings SA also saw its assets locked in the legal battle.
The freeze on these assets originally stemmed from a lawsuit brought against the three directors by Laiki Bank. The Supreme Court's decision, however, has now annulled the freezing orders issued by the Nicosia Court back in 2014.
The key issue at hand was the fact that the freezing orders had been issued without the presence of the plaintiffs, violating the established legal procedures that require both sides to be heard. The Supreme Court deemed the invocation of "special circumstances" as insufficient grounds for unilateral asset freezes. Furthermore, the Court found that the urgency of issuing the orders and the risk of asset alienation had not been adequately justified.
Importantly, the Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction with the delay in submitting the freezing orders following the lawsuit's registration. It was noted that the references to "specific ways" or "specific directions" for further investigations were vague and failed to provide clear grounds for the delay.
In Laiki Bank's 2012 lawsuit against the defendants, it was alleged that they had abused their high-ranking positions within the bank, violating their obligations of trust and good faith. The lawsuit included claims of breach of trust, negligence, conspiracy, and losses incurred by the bank due to their actions. The defendants were accused of failing to act with the required duties of loyalty and trust, resulting in the bank's significant losses and the granting of credit facilities without adequate collateral.
The legal representation for the appellants in this case was provided by Andreas Haviaras from the law firm HAVIARAS & PHILIPPOU D.E.P.E. and Nikolas Thrasyvoulos from NIKOLAS THRASYVOULOU D.E.P.E.
This Supreme Court decision marks a significant development in this long-standing legal battle, with substantial assets now unfrozen, leaving the financial landscape considerably altered for all parties involved.
By fLEXI tEAM