Head of Greek ATEbank took the money and ran
If you run a bank, don't take part in a run on the banks.
The former head of Greece's Agricultural Bank (which operated as ATEbank) has been lambasted for taking €8m of personal savings out of the country to buy a house in London at the height of the crisis in 2011, months before his bank collapsed into insolvency.
Theodoros Pantalakis is not accused of any legal wrongdoing, since he paid tax on the amount transferred and reported it to the authorities, but it is nonetheless a telling example of the lack of faith which much of the Greek elite had and still have with their country's economy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the wealthiest Greeks are moving as many assets as possible out of harm's way, and London is a popular destination. According to the Guardian, Savills, an estate agent which specialises in ludicrously unaffordable houses, reports that searches from Greece have increased by 50 per cent over the last six months, and Knight Frank, another estate agent, calculates that prices for "prime" properties in the city are up by a half on their low, and 16 per cent on their pre-crash high.
Pantalakis faces questions over his running of ATEbank, which sold its healthy assets for just €95m last month. The bank made €150m of loans to the parties PASOK and New Democracy, at the time the hegemonic leaders of the political eliter, which were under collateralised and unserviced until he left; and it had to borrow from itself to pay a €130m pension bill for retiring employees.
Pantalakis is currently on holiday, and responded to requests for comment "from his villa on the Aegean island of Paros", according to the FT.
The over-arching trend appears to have lessened, however. While one of the big fears of May/June was that a "bank jog" might force Greece from the euro mechanically – that is to say, the exit would be decided solely by the ECB – the latest reports suggest that that risk has passed. FX Empire charts the claim that €10bn flowed into the country in July:
If fear has passed in Greece, that can only be a good thing for the country as it struggles out of the economic hole it is in.