Former AEK Athens owner faces jail for fraud

ATHENS - Former AEK Athens owner Makis Psomiadis was sentenced to four years in jail by an Athens court on Tuesday for fraud.

Psomiadis, a current shareholder in rival Greek Super League club Nea Kavala where his son is chairman, and two of his cousins were given four-year jail sentences for defrauding 11 million euros from AEK's accounts.

The court ruled that Psomiadis, a former tabloid newspaper and nightclub owner, had recorded several invoices in AEK's accounts for construction work at their training ground between July 2001 and January 2003, which was never carried out.

The court also said that Psomiadis's sentence is not suspended and cannot be bought out. However, he has not been jailed and is currently free while considering an appeal to another court.

Psomiadis, who was not present at Tuesday's court announcement with his lawyers representing him, is expected to file for a second hearing in a different court in an attempt to have the sentence reviewed.

Filio Georgiou, AEK's financial manager during the same period, was also given a suspended sentence. The court also ordered AEK's offices to be shut for 10 days as punishment.

Psomiadis, known as one of Greek football's most colourful characters, was handed a 12-year prison sentence in October 2002 for forgery but was freed one week later on health grounds after producing evidence he was suffering from tuberculosis.