by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Bank of Greece has submitted documents to the Supreme Court prosecutor clearly showing that a Greek self-claimed "billionaire" pledging to pay off Greek debt has no assets, "Vima" (Tribune) newspaper reported on Monday.
The documents were submitted on January 23, according to Monday's article citing judicial sources, in order to assist ongoing investigations for fraud and the establishment of a criminal organization into Artemis Sorras, a 50-year-old man who first appeared in public life five years ago.
"The central Bank asked five Greek lenders to release information on the assets of Artemis Sorras. The response was there are no assets," said the report.
Sorras introduced himself as the manager of a trust fund with 600 billion dollars in U.S. bonds he claimed he inherited from shareholders in the Banque d'Orient, a bank that merged with the National Bank of Greece in the early 20th century.
The "manager" claimed he would put the money at the disposal of the Greek state to pay off its debt load, and he would also pay off the debts held by all Greek citizens.
Although most Greeks treated the case as a joke, thousands of desperate austerity-hit citizens enrolled in the political organization he founded, paying membership fees.
Authorities launched a series of investigations against Sorras in recent months after at least 7,000 citizens encouraged publicly by the "billionaire" went to tax offices, social security funds and banks, asking that their debts will be paid with money withdrawn from Sorras' trust fund.
At least four probings are under way into Sorras, Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis told MPs during a debate in the parliament on the shortcomings of Greece's judicial system.
In 2013 following a complaint filed by a conservative deputy, Sorras was acquitted on technicalities by an Athens court on charges of spreading false information and since then used the ruling as an "advertisement banner proving the existence of the fortune". The Supreme Court overturned the ruling a few weeks ago. (1 euro = 1.06 U.S. dollars)