Greece debt crisis: Australian businessman promises to give money to distraught pensioner as photograph goes viral

Images of a weeping pensioner collapsed outside a bank in Thessaloniki moved one man to track him down and help put him back on his feet

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The Independent Online

A Greek man pictured weeping outside a bank as he tried to withdraw his pension but was turned away became the human face of the Greek crisis, but now that man is set to receive a personal bailout from an Australian businessman.

Images of the elderly Giorgos Chatzifotiadis collapsing outside a bank in Thessaloniki and being helped away by a policeman and another man in a suit after he was unable to withdraw his EUR 120-a-week pension were seen around the world in the international media.

Over the last few weeks Greek banks have remained closed and withdrawals have been limited after Greek negotiators failed to reach a deal with the country's international creditors.

Mr Chatzifotiadis had waited in line at four banks across his city, but was turned away without being able to withdraw his money.

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Mr Chatzifotiadis waited outside multiple banks but was turned away without being able to withdraw his pension (Getty)

In Australia, James Koufos, the CEO of a Sydney-based financial services company, was moved by the images of Mr Chatzifotiadis and when it emerged that elderly Greek was an old family friend, he went into action.

Mr Koufos took to Facebook, writing in a post "I urge all my Facebook friends to please help us track this man", and promising to pay Mr Chatzifotiadis's pension for "as long as it takes".

Mr Chatzifotiadis, he said in the post, was a friend of his late father. The two were at school together in the same village in Greece.

Mr Koufos's mother, who still lives in Greece, told him of the family connection and Mr Koufous has promised to fly to Greece to pay Mr Chatzifotiadis's pension.

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Mr Chatzifotiadis, above, was at school with Mr Koufos's late father (Getty)

Speaking to The Daily Mail in Australia, Mr Koufos said he had been told where Mr Chatzifotiadis was living.

"It's an amazing and rare chance to really help someone," he was quoted in an article on the MailOnline as saying.

He is quoted as saying he will use some of the inheritance left to him by his father, and that he has received "four or five thousand" euros in donations from other people moved by Mr Chatzifotiadis's plight.

Greeks voted against the terms of a bailout deal in a referendum over the weekend and a new bailout deal has yet to be agreed.

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