Greek “shipowner” Giannis Karageorgis was convicted of fraud, by the appellate court of the Dutch city of Zwolle, and must serve a 30-month prison sentence regarding a 2011 case involving his investment in the dairy company Lyempf.

Karageorgis had bought the century-old Dutch company in 2010, giving assurances that he would enhance its liquidity. However, the dairy company unexpectedly went bankrupt in 2011.

Investigations by the Dutch Prosecuting Authorities revealed that the Greek shipowner did not inject fresh money into Lyempf, instead “emptied” its cash reserves.

The Dutch prosecuting authorities accused Karageorgis of fraud and fraudulent bankruptcy. He was arrested in Greece in 2016 on a European arrest warrant related to this case, which, however, was not executed.

In 2019, the Greek shipowner was initially sentenced, by a Dutch court, to two years in prison for fraud amounting to €12.4 million.

Karageorgis appealed the first-instance decision and the appeal was heard in June. The appeal happened in his absence, as he cited health reasons and submitted a certificate from a holistic treatment center in Kifissia.

Increased Sentence

According to an online article from the Dutch newspaper De Stentor, written by judicial correspondent Michiel Satink, the Dutch appellate court announced its decision today, July 3, regarding the Greek shipowner.

With the new judicial ruling, Karageorgis’ prison sentence was increased to 30 months from the initial 24, which was justified by the fact that the Prosecutor had requested a 4-year prison sentence.

Sentences in the Netherlands are not convertible into fines, so this means that Karageorgis will have to serve his sentence either in the Netherlands or in Greece.

Additionally, he has the option to appeal the appellate court’s decision to the Supreme Court, although this is unlikely to suspend the prison sentence.

The prison sentence is not the only problem for the Greek shipowner. The Dutch newspaper De Stentor reports that the special liquidator of the dairy company Lyempf, Dutch lawyer Martijn Kerkdijk, is still seeking to recover €15 million as part of the company’s liquidation process.

“Despite the conviction, the Greek has not paid any of it,” the article states, citing reports from Greek media that Karageorgis owns assets such as a luxury yacht worth millions of euros, built in the Netherlands.

“The question is whether he still has assets in his name,” the special liquidator told De Stentor, adding, “If he serves his sentence, it might facilitate negotiation. The battle is not over yet.”

An arrest warrant for Karageorgis is expected to be issued soon.