With the financial crisis engulfing the Greek economy, the leaders of the country’s state owned financial institutions might be expected to show solidarity with struggling citizens by keeping their money in the country. However, it has been revealed that the former chief of struggling ATEbank has been transferring his personal savings abroad.
Theodore Pantalakis admitted this weekend that he had sent as much as €8m abroad in order to purchase London property, just a few months before ATEbank was declared non-viable. The bank was split up last month, with many of its assets being taken over by Greece’s fourth largest lender, Piraeus Bank.
Transferring funds abroad is not illegal, although many have deemed it unethical while liquidity issues affect the Greek economy. One banker told the Financial Times: “Nobody has suggested Mr Pantalakis sent the funds abroad illegally. But there is clearly an ethical issue since he was serving as the head of a big state bank at a time of financial and economic crisis.”
Pantalakis maintains that he has not acted improperly, however, telling the Greece’s Realnews paper on Sunday: “It is €8m, mine and my family’s. It is legal, reported and taxec and part of the family’s wealth, the level of which justifies (the transfer).”