AEK owner jailed

AEK Athens FC owner Chrisostomos Psomiadis has been handed a 12-year prison sentence for forgery.

Crime against the state
Psomiadis was found guilty of forgery against the Greek state in a case dating back to his time as owner of the To Onoma newspaper in February 1996.

Forged document
Psomiadis had published a forged document accusing then government minister Kostas Laliotis of receiving payment from a German consortium bidding for the contract to build the new Athens airport. Laliotis subsequently sued Psomiadis for defamation and argued that the publication had endangered the interest of the Greek state.

Pleading innocence
"I am innocent," said Psomiadis after the judgment, which also included a €10,000 fine and denial of parole. "The former minister, Mr Laliotis, prejudiced the court by bringing as witnesses all the members of the cabinet. No court decision and nobody, not even Laliotis, can stop AEK."

Father and son
Psomiadis visited the AEK training ground yesterday where he presented his son, 18-year-old Stavros Psomiadis, as the new president of Ippoventure SA, the company which owns AEK. He told the playing staff that their bonuses for last year's second place in the league and qualification for the UEFA Champions League would be paid by 6 October.

Moneys owed
Psomiadis also announced that he had met the deadline for the second payment to English company ENIC, AEK's previous owners and a 43 per cent shareholder, of a €1.75m sum.