London trader's email 'damaged Greek economy'

A London trader is expected to be questioned by police after being accused by the Greek authorities of sending an email designed to stir up rumours of a plan to restructure debt in the embattled country.

Paul Moss, of Citigroup, was said to have rattled nervous investors, leading to a drop of 4.6 per cent in Greek bank shares on Wednesday, after allegedly sending a message saying the country could restructure its debt as soon as the weekend.

Greece has been excluded from financial markets since it suffered a debt crisis last year. Authorities have insisted the debt is sustainable but its scale and a continuing slump in the country have led markets to anticipate a restructuring.

"We have located a computer terminal at a company in London from which is very damaging email was sent," said a police spokesman, Thanassis Kokkalakis. "It contained very confusing misinformation that is now the focus of an urgent investigation. This man will be questioned and the findings sent to a prosecutor."

Reports said that investigators from Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency would be working with Greece's cyber crime division and speaking to the trader. Soca, however, refused to confirm any investigation last night. Meanwhile the US bank said: "We are co-operating with the authorities and do not consider there to have been any wrongdoing by Citi or its employees".

The email was believed to have been sent at 14.42 UK time, 20 minutes after an already declining market started losing ground more rapidly on Wednesday.

But the allegations come at an extremely sensitive time with Greece struggling to meet the conditions set by a110bn euro (£97bn) EU-IMF bailout package and poised to launch a privatisation programme to raise £44bn. The country is seen as the most likely to default on its debts, potentially sparking panic throughout the euro zone.

Speculation Greece will fail to pay back its borrowings has pushed interest rates on debts due for repayment in 10 years to 15 per cent, far higher than those paid by its fellow euro zone member Germany.

Greece's Finance Minister, George Papaconstantinou, insisted on Wednesday that it could deal with its debt mountain. Yesterday the ministry in Athens described rumours of an Easter restructuring as "devoid of any substance and verging on the ridiculous" and said it had forwarded the email to the prosecutor's office.

The message, the contents of which were forwarded to Reuters news agency and confirmed by Citi, cites "increased noise" over a Greek debt restructuring "as early as this Easter weekend", and notes how spreads in the bond market were widening.

A full version was published in the Greek newspaper Imerisia and said to have been sent from a man named by the Greek authorities as Paul Moss, 45. "The last few days the talks over Gr restructuring/ rescheduling have intensified, despite the ongoing denials by Gr and foreign officials.

"The prosecutor is investigating this particular email and the person who sent it because it spread false rumours with an effect on the stock market," a Greek court official said.

One trader said: "There's no way the rumours will stop with actions like this."

This is the second time in a few months that Greek prosecutors have taken drastic action on suspicion that unsubstantiated e-mails caused market jitters. Earlier this year, authorities arrested a jobless man on the charge of spreading rumours about a Greek bankruptcy in an e-mail he sent from an internet cafe to banks and media. He is facing misdemeanour charges.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?