A fugitive Greek banker nabbed by U.S. authorities allegedly built a multimillion dollar banking and media empire by siphoning money from a bank in a scandal that has shaken Greece's socialist government.
FBI agents arrested George Koskotas, 34, on Wednesday after he landed at a suburban air field aboard a Lear jet from Bermuda. He fled his homeland Nov. 6 after being indicted on five counts of fraud and embezzlement of bank funds."The Department of Justice had received information from Greek authorities, including the Greek national police and the Greek embassy, and that's why we had people waiting when Mr. Koskotas arrived," Justice Department spokesman Thomas Stewart said in Washington.
The FBI said it was holding Koskotas in a federal lock-up in the Boston area pending a hearing Friday before a U.S. magistrate.
The Koskotas scandal has embarrassed the government of Premier Andreas Papandreou and prompted the resignations of two ministers. Opposition conservatives have charged that Koskotas was allowed to escape so that he would not implicate top government officials in illegal financial deals.
Koskotas had been ordered to remain in Greece while officials investigated alleged irregularities at the Bank of Crete, which he had controlled while chairman.
In Athens, Spyros Papadatos, temporary commissioner appointed by the Greek government to investigate the case, said Koskotas systematically "siphoned about $135 million from the Bank of Crete, which he passed through his own account."
Papadatos said Koskotas also used bank money to make loans without collateral and give gifts.