Investigation into laundering of Nikos Koklonis – “What do I have? Definitely eye and lies!!"

With a long statement yesterday, Nikos Koklonis tried to answer the reports that talk about seizing the property of a well-known presenter by "photographing" himself

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With a lengthy statement yesterday, Nikos Koklonis tried to answer the reports that talk about seizing the property of a well-known presenter by "photographing" himself.

Immediately after, he uploaded a story on his personal Instagram page in which he smilingly says: “What do I have? Definitely eye and lies!!"

On the same night, he did not appear at the cutting of Alpha's pie, which was also done by his girlfriend Katerina Kainourgiou, a fact that was commented on in various ways.

For many, this was the best the well-known TV producer and presenter could do to lessen the "hurricane" that "hit" him, in the form of an eighty-page finding communicated by the Anti-Money Laundering Authority to the Financial Prosecutor.

According to the information that has come to light, the conclusion refers to a criminal organization in the form of a mafia that systematically laundered money both in Greece and abroad, while its movable and immovable property was seized.

Something that Nikos Koklonis categorically denied with a statement in which he essentially says that he is not controlled and that everything is going well in his television empire.


The one that supplies the television channels with a multitude of shows and shows and will continue to do so for the time being, since shows such as "Super Katerina" and "Just the two of us" will be shown as normal.

Apparently he has not been notified of the Authority's 80-page conclusion, which is in the hands of Financial Prosecutor Christos Bardakis, something that will happen in the next few days.

Subsequently, he will be asked at some point to give his own explanations for what the Authority accuses him of, since the conclusion mentions debts to the State amounting to 22.000.000 euros.

According to the opinion of Charalambos Vourliotis, the head of the Authority requests criminal prosecution both against Nikos Koklonis and others involved for fraud against the State, tax evasion, tax fraud, establishment of a criminal organization and money laundering.

At the same time, working in television productions of the company of Nikos Koklonis and in the media of his interests, they are said to have been divided into two camps.

To those who call colleagues worrying about tomorrow at work and to those who believe that everything is going well and there is no reason to worry.

However, there are not a few who fear chain reactions in the television industry in the next period, since Nikos Koklonis works with all the major channels as a producer and has various projects running or being prepared.

At the beginning of the week when the month ends and wages and salaries will have to be paid, it will be seen whether the freezing of all bank accounts - corporate and personal - of the presenter, will affect their payment.

The only thing that is certain is that at the moment Nikos Koklonis is in the eye of the cyclone that broke out at noon on Thursday, no matter how calm he wants to look.

In the evening of the same day, with a tweet he uploaded, he emphasized, among other things: "I will not do you the favor of leaving 600 people without a job! Clear sky lightning is not afraid!".

It's not the first time the former TV furniture salesman has rubbed the bank the wrong way, although he has to be credited for being a literal seven-brainer.

Six and a half years ago he was still living through the deafening collapse of Air Fast Tickets, when in early July 2007 the remnants of the business empire he had built were auctioned off.

It was the period when Nikos Koklonis was trying to be reborn from his ashes, to do something new and to a large extent he succeeded to the maximum extent, within a few years.

But that summer he had left the once amazing offices of the company he created to fall into disrepair, while the auction items had been valued at forty-four thousand six hundred euros.

An amount that was a drop in the ocean in front of the 45.000.000 euros that the wizard of cheap tickets allegedly owed to IATA and various airlines.

And all this while the process of verifying the creditors for the amounts owed to them had not ended, even though more than two years had passed since the collapse of airfasttickets.

Koklonis, ardently wishing to be reborn from his ashes, had already set up a new group of six companies whose object was traveling.

If there was anything left to remember, it was a TV show on SKAI in which he presented various countries that he traveled with sometimes glamorous guests such as the couple Atherides-Karydis and also his confidant friend Tryfonas Samaras.

The only one as he recently stated in a TV interview who stood by him when everyone else had abandoned him after the fall of airfasttickets.

Admittedly, at the time, according to the critics, he was not particularly good, but he was trying to show that he has it, at the same time that his business come back, was imperceptibly heard.

Market insiders pointed out that this is because Koklonis' status "faded" for good when Airfasttickets went under, as it is known that what glitters is not always gold.

The demon Koklonis was a little late but he made sure to refute them since in recent years he has become one of the most successful television producers by setting up Barking Well Media.

Shows, spectacular shows, glamorous as well as highly paid judges, presenters and panelists said yes easily since their fees were very good.

He himself, especially with "Just the two of us" was living the ultimate dream of the presenter-star, having left the old behind, perhaps unaware that sometimes the past haunts us.

The "Harry Potter" of cheap tickets

The founder of the company that upended air travel by pricing tickets not just below cost, but below tax and fees, a tactic accused of unfair competition by the airlines, now felt he could again the difference.

He did it having built a very good public relations network, but the issue is that apart from him, not many others in the field felt the specific difference.

They just didn't say it for obvious reasons.

Nothing has deterred the former "wizard" of cheap tickets who in the course of his life so far has climbed and fallen several times from the top to return again and again.

The fall of airfasttickets, which was as deafening as his astonishing rise, taught him to be more careful in his movements, friends say.

Some old-timers from the small screen space still remember him when he was back on TV, with a completely different subject matter than his current show.

It was then that he was selling furniture on a low-viewing channel and touting bargains for dining tables, bedside tables and sofas.

He probably did not imagine that a little later he would be responsible for a business success story that left many speechless, since in just six years Nikos Koklonis, a kid from Piraeus, traveled a path that others would probably need decades to achieve.

The near-merchant captain, son of a wealthy family, quickly realized that he was not cut out for the sea, which calls for tough men and not restless boys with sensitivities.

Breakfast with Trump and the fast rise

ASOEE and studies on business administration were only the beginning, after he followed the prestigious American university of Cornell.

His job at a bank never filled him, in contrast to the trips he loved and in one of them, he was inspired as he said after Airfasttickets, drawing its logo on a napkin.

The company started its operation in 2009 and is developing rapidly outside Greece, in England, Germany and America.

Lover of the worldly life, Mr. Koklonis gradually socializes with Anna Vissi, Vana Barba and others, while moving around Athens initially in a Bentley and later in a red Ferrari.

Last summer in Mykonos, he was driving a specially modified Lamborghini Urus worth 350.000 euros, painted bright yellow.

In the palmare of his acquaintances is also a breakfast with the former president of the planet Donald Trump, which was unforgettable for him.

Until 2014, everything seems to be rolling perfectly in his venture, but then the instruments and the first publications about the company's problems and debts begin.

However, he made sure to remain an ace in public relations, even when IATA, i.e. the International Air Transport Association, excluded his company from the ticket reservation systems in Greece, Germany and the United Kingdom.

According to the IATA document at the time, Mr. Kokloni's company had made in May 2014 and the first fortnight of June ticket sales through the ticket payment clearing system of Greece, the United Kingdom and Germany amounting to 71,6 million euros.

Of this amount, 14 million euros were covered by timely payments and 11 million euros by guarantee checks. The amount at risk, according to IATA, was 45 million euros, at least until June 15, 2015, when the IATA accreditation number for airfasttickets in the three countries in question was cancelled.

Tragic irony; At the time of Airfasttickets' exclusion from IATA, EBEA awarded Mr. Kokloni's company as the fastest growing small and medium-sized company in Greece.

The young businessman was never present at the evening to receive his award. He now had much more important problems to solve...

The fall

Almost a year after August 2015 and at the beginning of the month, Nikos Koklonis was in Mykonos to celebrate his birthday, together with a few of his good friends.
These carefree photos were characterized as one of the good but not the last communication trick.

Only a few days passed before it became known to everyone that airfasttickets suspended its operation.

Experienced executives in the travel and tourism industry still believe today that Mr. Koklonis knew of the impending end of his business venture.
But he preferred to keep it a closely guarded secret, when he was photographed smiling in the streets of Mykonos and on the beach with his friends.

His claims that he has made major deals with foreign investors from China and Saudi Arabia turned out to be just words, from a man trying to save what he could.

When he claimed in his social and professional circle that he would raise hundreds of millions of euros in order to further develop airfasttickets, but also to expand his business scope, few believed him.

As it turned out from the developments, it was ultimately a move of desperation from which all that was left were the photos of Mr. Kokloni with some Chinese people who no one knew who they were and a Saudi who was apparently caught in the act, which were leaked to the media.

But the game was over…

Revival, bouzouki and Ferrari

What if in the winter of 2015 he tried to boost his personal profile more, having already entered the small social circles of Athens for good?
The results were not as expected.

His New Year's Revival with guests at his luxurious residence in the Southern suburbs, from Vana Barba to Despina Moirarakis and the guest star of the evening, Gogo Tsamba, was just the beginning.

The bouzouki nights followed - he went more than three times to the center where Mazo, Paola and Pantelidis were singing at the time - spending over thirty thousand euros on flowers each time.

Even when his edifice was crumbling he believed that he would stand and that no IATA would dethrone him from the ticket king throne.

At one point he went to Pyrgos Ilias where he kept a country house in his red Ferrari, which became an object of admiration for the ordinary residents of the area.
His portrait by the famous sculptor Mara Karetsou, is even today one of his most beloved possessions.

The truth is that at the beginning of his dizzying journey, which began on an Easy Jet plane during a flight, even he did not imagine what was to come.

The bad thing in Mr. Kokloni's case is that he was ultimately unable to properly manage the company, taking risks from the beginning and playing too aggressively.

He followed the same aggressive tactics in building his mentor empire in recent years, handsomely paying those who trusted him, once again building a successful track.

The conclusion of the Authority's eighty pages came at a time when everything was going from good to better for the producer-presenter, who a few days ago took the rights of the Daily Mirror for Greece.

Now he will have to manage a crisis that could cause chain reactions in the television industry and put him in a very difficult position once again.

Source: First issue