A developer connected to a 1,700-unit luxury complex on the Queens waterfront in the final stages of city approval allegedly bribed representatives of a Greek bank to get his way in the past, court documents show.
Efstathios (Steve) Valiotis, a principal of Alma Realty, the developer behind the Astoria Cove project, was spotlighted in a 1995 federal court decision for bribing a Greek intermediary in order to secure a multimillion-dollar loan for his separate cargo vessel business.
According to evidence introduced to the court, Valiotis and another director of shipping company Levant Lines paid a bribe to a third party after a meeting with an official of the Greece-based Banque Franco-Hellenic de Commerce in order to secure a $5.7 million loan from the bank in 1990.
Levant, which operated a cargo vessel service between the United States and the Mediterranean, had failed in loan requests to more than 10 banks, to acquire two aging ships, the Spirit and the Pride, court documents note.
The shipper eventually acquired the loan it sought, and a judge noted there was “convincing evidence” that a bribe by Valiotis helped make it possible, though Valiotis was not a party to the lawsuit and the court did not explicitly adjudicate his role in the matter.
The lawsuit was between the bank and another investor who claimed he did not have to repay a related loan because it was secured through illicit means.
The council approved Astoria Cove yesterday, and the city is kicking in $5M to build the developer a ferry dock...