Koskotas was born in Greece on October 5, 1954. He migrated to the United States with his parents in 1970. Koskotas grew up in the United States, returned to Greece in 1979, and joined the Bank of Crete as an administrative officer. He bought the Bank of Crete in 1984 and then built a banking and publishing empire that controlled three daily newspapers, a radio station and the soccer team Olympiacos F.C.
In the months that followed, Koskotas, who had by then fled to the United States, claimed that the late prime minister and PASOK party founder Andreas Papandreou ordered state companies to deposit funds with the bank, and took bribes from stolen money. The allegations resulted in the resignations of several ministers and demands for a vote of no confidence in the government. Papandreou, who died in 1996, was cleared of all charges by the Supreme Court in 1992 (with a 7 to 6 vote) and staged a remarkable political comeback, as he was triumphally re-elected as prime minister in 1993.
Koskotas was jailed in Massachusetts and charged with embezzling more than $200 million from the Bank of Crete, pending extradition to Greece. He was paroled and released from prison on March 16, 2001. He had served 12 years of a 25-year sentence for embezzlement, forgery and obstruction of justice felonies. Barred from leaving the country, Koskotas had also been ordered to report to an Athens police precinct twice a month.
- Ajemian, Robert (24 June 2001). "Scandals The Looting of Greece". Time. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Papandreou, Accused of Taking Bribes, Goes on Trial in Athens". The New York Times. 12 March 1991. p. 10. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- Simons, Marlise (17 January 1992). "Greek Ex-Premier Not Guilty in Bank Scandal". The New York Times. p. 5. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "Jailed Greek Banker's Tale of Greed: Slush Fund and Soccer Team". The New York Times. 9 May 1989. p. 12. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- "X-BANKER & PUBLISHER KOSKOTAS RELEASED TODAY". Macedonian Press Agency. Helennic Resources Network. 16 March 2001. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- As of this edit, this article uses content from Phantis, a source licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License which was imported into Wikipedia before November 2008 and is therefore validly licensed for use on Wikipedia. All relevant terms must be followed. The original article was at "George Koskotas".