First Business Bank (FBBank)

FB Bank

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"United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), a lobbying group led by former US ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace, claims the tycoon was involved in the formation of a strategic alliance between FBB and Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum. The allegations, which Restis has refuted, stem from a letter in which Greek businessman Dimitris Cambis, who recently landed on the US Treasury Department’s blacklist, asked Restis and FBB CEO Christos Kazantzis to back an Iranian investment scheme. TradeWinds obtained copies of two documents, including one dated 25 April 2012 and signed by Cambis on the letterhead of Athene Consulting House in which he requests a meeting aimed at 'initiating and concluding a strategic agreement' with FBB... 'Their own monthly transactions which shall be directed to FBB are a few billions and they have vast resources to support the strategic plan that you might agree on,' Cambis continued before outlining a proposed agenda for a meeting that would correspond with the ministry’s visit. The second letter, which was addressed to Restis and also dated 25 April 2012 but not signed, suggests that FBB hired Concept Consulting of Cyprus to advise on a transaction with representatives of the Iranian government. Its unclear if a meeting between Iran’s oil ministry and FBB ever took place but today Greek operator Enterprises Shipping & Trading released a statement on behalf of Restis in which the executive denied UANI’s accusations... The war of words erupted a day after the National Bank of Greece announced plans to absorb what it called the 'healthy assets' of FBB, in which affiliates of the Restis family controlled a 64% stake prior to what some have likened to a bailout." (TradeWinds, "Restis Fires Back," 5/14/2013) 


"The advocacy group’s chief executive Mark Wallace late on Monday wrote to Mr Restis as non-executive chairman of First Business Bank, an already-defunct capacity after the bank was absorbed by the National Bank of Greece over the weekend and effectively ceased to exist. UANI cited a letter of more than one year ago from Dimitris Cambis, a Greek shipping executive whose companies have recently been blacklisted by the US Department of the Treasury, addressed primarily to the then-chief executive of FB Bank, Christos Kazantzis. The letter, which has been seen by Lloyd’s List, appears to have been written ahead of a visit to Athens by representatives of the Iranian Ministry of Oil, outlining a scheme to 'initiate and conclude a strategic agreement with FBB'. According to the letter, which is entitled ‘Introduction of Strategic Investor — Business Proposal’, Mr Cambis’ Athene Consulting House was proposing FB Bank as a partner of the Iranians because 'we trust Prof Kazantzis' and because Mr Restis was seen as 'an eminent international businessman' who might derive synergies from such a deal... FB Bank was taken over by the National Bank of Greece after failing to raise E 168m to recapitalise itself, a fact that by itself raises questions over the veracity of suggestions it had secret access to Iranian oil funds." (Lloyd's List, "Restis dismisses claim of Iran link to former bank," 5/14/2013)