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11 Charged With Illegal Export Of Money In Koskotas Affair

March 22, 1989

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Greek-American author Nicholas Gage and 10 other people were accused Tuesday of smuggling currency out of the country, the semi-official Athens News Agency reported.

Also among those charged was Eleni Vlachou, former owner of the highly respected conservative daily Kathimerini, the report said.

The charges were made by the Athens district attorney following investigations into financial wrongdoings at the Bank of Crete.

The prosecutor’s audit said Mrs. Vlachou and Gage received Greek currency worth $130,000 and $20,000 respectively from former Bank of Crete Chairman George Koskotas, indicted in a banking scandal that has rocked the Socialist government.

Both amounts were allegedly deposited last summer in London bank accounts bearing the recipients’ names.

Gage, the author of the book ″Eleni″ and former consultant for Koskotas’ Grammi publishing company, rejected the charges. He said he had been paid through a U.S. bank in New York.

″I have receipts to prove it and will send them as soon as possible to my lawyer in Athens,″ he said by telephone from New York.

All 11 cases were referred to an investigating magistrate, the news agency said.

A parliamentary fact-finding committee has been investigating activities at the Bank of Crete since a $200 million scandal broke last October.

The entire opposition demanded immediate elections under a caretaker government after Koskotas publicly accused senior officials of the governing Panhellenic Socialist Movement of authorizing plans to embezzle millions from the bank.

Koskotas, now jailed in Salem, Mass. pending a Greek extradition request, made the allegations in interviews with Time magazine and several U.S. and European television networks.

The accusations prompted the conservative opposition New Democracy Party to file a censure motion in Parliament, narrowly defeated by the Socialists.

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