Court Seizes Assets of Greek Oligarch

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Correction Appended

An Athens court on Wednesday ordered the seizure of assets belonging to Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, a Greek oligarch whom the authorities have charged with fraud and embezzlement, and 29 of his former associates, the latest legal maneuver in a case that has underscored concerns over corruption and crony capitalism in Greece.

The ruling upheld an appeal filed by the shareholders in Proton Bank, once majority-owned by Mr. Lavrentiadis, who claimed they lost substantial wealth after he allegedly issued hundreds of millions of dollars in bad loans to dormant companies.

Prosecutors last March charged Mr. Lavrentiadis and his associates with fraud, embezzlement, forming a criminal gang, money laundering and breach of faith stemming from loans believed to have been issued by Proton Bank. His name recently resurfaced as one of more than 2,000 Greeks appearing on the so-called Lagarde list of people said to have accounts in a Geneva branch of the bank HSBC.

Mr. Lavrentiadis, 40, was something of a wunderkind, inheriting a small chemical company and building an empire that included holdings in pharmaceuticals, banks, a soccer team and works of art.

His business dealings began to sour soon after the financial crisis hit, and regulators say that from the moment he took over Proton, he began looting it to prop up flagging operations.

A spokesman said Mr. Lavrentiadis was not immediately available for comment. In a recent interview, he denied accusations of wrongdoing, saying that he was "clean" and that he was being targeted as a "scapegoat."

Correction: December 12, 2012, Wednesday

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of a Greek oligarch. He is Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, not Lavrentiadas.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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