All the details: Further evidence of AEK Athens fraud comes to light amid criminal trial
AEK Athens owner stands trial for Fraud
A trial for AEK Athens owner Dimitris Melissanidis around fraud amounting to 200 million pounds is ongoing in a Luxembourg court.
The Greek businessman is accused of using stolen funds from one of his other businesses, Aegean Marine Petroleum network inc, to help prop up his football club, among other ventures without disclosure, leaving the company in bankruptcy come 2018.
More information about the case can be found here and here.
Now, the case for the accused has been heard in court, and it is shocking to say the least.
Aegean Oil found itself out of business in the latter part of 2018 as a result of accounting fraud, which saw around 200 million euros struck from their asset sheet, plunging the company significantly enough into the red that they were forced to file for bankruptcy.
The lawsuit, filed in Luxembourg, claims that:
Melissanidis “abused his dominant position in the Aegean group in order to embezzle funds from the group to entities in which he controlled or in which he had a direct interest, often using OTE (Oil Tank Engineering and Consulting Ltd, another of his companies) as an intermediary”.
This money was then siphoned off to other businesses, including AEK Athens, the football club that he owns, with the case claiming:
“OTE paid about 36.3 million dollars to individuals and companies affiliated with or controlled by Dimitris Melissanidis. Among the beneficiaries are PAE AEK, the Union of Friends of AEK, players and executives. These payments amount to approximately $ 10.8 million, which “includes an interest-free loan, salaries and bonuses for players and coaches.”
As the image shows, these allegedly included payments for two new players, Ruben Vargas and Diego Buonnanote, from OTE accounts.
Evidence is forthcoming, and deleted
In a further twist of events, it appears that Melissandis was keen to delete as much evidence as possible before his actions came to light. As per the lawsuit:
“an expert reported that they deleted 53.4 GB of data (approximately 254,016 documents in total).”
Melissanidis stands further accused of attacking those on the case. According to the lawsuit:
“From a conversation with Mr. Thomas on July 17, 2019, it was revealed that when he learned that the latter had helped EY to gain access to the AMPNI server, Dimitris Melissanidis came into conflict with him and demanded that Mr. Thomas give details of the EY investigation.
Then, Dimitris Melissanidis attacked Mr. Thomas, who then went to the hospital and then remained in hiding for weeks, fearing for his physical safety. Mr. Thomas filed a complaint with the police.”
These, for now, remain just claims, and they are vehemently denied by the defence legal team and Melissinidis himself.
However, it appears that there is mounting to suggest plenty of dodgy dealings from the AEK owner, even leading back to AEK itself, which could land both the owner and the club in significant trouble with authorities.
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