Greek shipowner suspected of embezzlement detained

A Greek shipowner was held in detention on suspicion of embezzlement and money laundering on Friday despite returning the sum he is accused of having pocketed, a judicial source said.

A magistrate ruled that Victor Restis, who presented a marathon, four-hour defence, should remain in custody, the same source said.

Restis was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of securing a 5.8-million-euro ($7.7 million) loan for companies or individuals he was close to from the First Business Bank, where he and his family were the main shareholders.

The shipowner, also active in media and real estate, denies the charges.

Despite the fact that he returned 6.2 million euros (the initial sum plus tax), judicial authorities insisted on his detention claiming he might commit new crimes or attempt to flee the country, according to the state-run Athens News Agency.

Restis has been in jail since the day of his arrest, when he asked for an extension to present his defence.

FBB was recently split in two, with the National Bank of Greece (NBG) -- one of the country's four main lenders -- acquiring its healthy assets, as part of a broader recapitalisation process.

Despite growing demands from the Greek public to fight corruption, cases of politicians or other high-profile persons brought to justice remain exceptionally rare.