Investigators requesting help of Swiss authorities for Papantoniou bank account

Anticorruption investigators requested the help of Swiss authorities early in December in investigating a bank account opened in 2016 by Stavroula Kourakou, wife of former minister Yannos Papantoniou, over suspicion of money laundering, it was disclosed on Monday.

Investigators Iliana Zamanika and Giorgos Evangelou, who are handling the moneylaundering charges filed against detained Papantoniou and Kourakou, said that the account in Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneve SA received a deposit of 4.6 million Swiss francs in September 2016 and still appears to be active. The investigators are requesting information in particular for all transactions dating from August 30, 2017 to the present.

The investigators said that the money transacted through the account is part of “illegal benefits” Papantoniou received as national defence minister from a 2003 contract to upgrade the lifespan of six S frigates of the Hellenic Navy. They also said the couple had founded the “Barbizan Foundation” in 2008 in Lichtenstein to handle assets, but the investigators said “its real purpose was to legalise fully the amount Papantoniou gained.”

They also urged authorities to respond as quickly as possible, as the couple is held on remand, which has an 18-month limit before law requires they be released.