By founder of Folli Follie Dimitris Koutsolioutsos to stand in front of the judges of the Three-member Court of Criminal Appeals to answer what is attributed to him in the case of the “scandal with the falsified data” so that the group appears strong, the process of the apologies of the ten defendants for the case that took on international dimensions and allegedly caused total damage exceeding 400 million euros.

Dimitris Koutsoliutsos, who will continue his apology on March 27, opened the cycle of apologies today, with his wife and son awaiting their turn for their own explanations regarding the deceptive image he portrayed in the case file the listed Group gaining a strong position in the market and also in bank credits, but misleading investors. After the three, the apologies of the other seven defendants, Group executives, chartered accountants, etc. will follow.

“I was waiting for this day how and how” said Dimitris Koutsolioutsos, accused of six crimes, in his first public statement for what, for almost six years, the Court has accused him of.

“For 5 years I have not spoken anywhere. A section of the press is constantly attacking me and I am forced to stay at home. The presumption of innocence has become a rag. I’m here for you to know the reality and judge it later” said the supposed main defendant. At the beginning of his apology, Mr. Koutsolioutsos did not fail to apologize to his co-accused, executives of the Group “who sat here next to me and for 20 years helped to consolidate the company, without having anything to do with all of this”.

The founder of Follie-Folli, referred in the first part of his apology to all the efforts he made to realize “a lifelong dream”, to create the jewelry company, in the 1990s to move into watchmaking and get it on track development.

He also referred extensively to the group’s course over the years and the choice of setting up a company in Hong Kong. The defendant emphasized that it is not true that Folli-Follie was a “bubble” and stated that “we offered the Greek state 1.5 billion within a decade. I don’t accept that there was nothing.” As he mentioned “Follie-Folli was listed on the Athens Stock Exchange because it met the conditions to be listed on the board”. “We entered with our sword” he said and went on to mention that “we opened 65 stores in Greece and at the same time 10 stores in foreign capitals”.

According to the founder of the Group: “We had made a colossus company, the largest on the stock market and with significant prospects for the future. In 1998 he opened the first office in Hong Kong, which was the New York of Asia.” As Mr. Koutsolioutsos said afterwards, the choice to open a retail store in Japan was considered of strategic importance as at that time Japan did not impose tariffs and other extra costs which gave the company an advantageous position for the competition.

“We were selling Greece. All campaigns had a Greek theme. All over the subways, airports there were Follie posters. All this cost me some billions. That’s how we became known worldwide,” he said.

The legal case of Folli Follie started a few days after the publication of the report of the international fund QCM which on May 4, 2018 informed that it found serious issues with the financial data of FFG, its points of sale, but also the Asian subsidiaries of the Group that displayed huge turnovers.

The judicial and financial investigation that followed revealed that the company for a number of years, displayed fictitious sales and bank data with supposed amounts in accounts, using the Asia arm. Thus, according to the case file, a false financial image was created that showed a dynamic and robust situation for the company listed on the Stock Exchange, which ultimately, through the manipulation of its stock, ended up creating prosperity only in the finances of the founders’ family.

The defendants are being tried on a case-by-case basis for the charges of criminal organization (formation, management, membership), forgery (and moral complicity), jointly and severally with a total benefit and corresponding loss of more than 120,000 euros, fraud by complicity and in furtherance (and synergy), against natural and legal persons, NIS and NIS, of joint, professional and ongoing market manipulation (and synergy thereto) and money laundering of criminal activities in collaboration and subsequently.

The founder of the company, Dimitris Koutsolioutsos, is additionally charged with a felony charge for abuse of privileged information by follow-up and by profession.