By Kyriacos Kyriacou – Nicosia
Public officials’ loans worth hundreds of millions of euro were written off by banks, according to a draft report on the collapse of the Cyprus economy prepared by the House of Ethics Committee. The report, which was leaked to the press, is causing strong reactions because it falls short of providing names, (they were all covered with XXXX). The biggest loan removed by banks, concerns a bank official and it is worth 117 million euro!
And the people suffer…
The findings are causing anger to Cypriots who are suffering from harsh economic measures implied by the government and the Troika.
It is worth reminding that last year, the Cypriot government agreed on 10 billion international bailout by the Eurogroup, European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, mostly due to the country’s collapsing banking sector. It was then said that the banks were exposure to overleveraged local property companies, the Greek government-debt crisis and the downgrading of the Cypriot government’s bond credit rating to junk status by international credit rating agencies.
The bailout program included the closure of the country’s second-largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), a one-time bank deposit levy on all uninsured deposits there, and a haircut of uninsured deposits in the Bank of Cyprus (the island’s largest commercial bank).
A criminal investigation, leaded by Secretary General, was immediately launched but it is yet to finish. The House of Ethics started its own investigation to support the criminal investigation, which is almost finished.
“No intention of a cover up”
A few days ago, a draft report was leaked to the press saying, among other things, that public official loans worth millions were removed by banks. But the report failed to give names causing severe reactions.
Chairman of the House Ethics committee Demetres Sylloures stated on Tuesday that the first was report was a draft and that the final report will include names. He said that fell short of providing names for fear of “smearing people who may have done nothing reprehensible”.
He said that names would be included in the report if by doing so it would not help them escape court proceedings, but not if their names have been made public in the past with no evidence backing any allegation of wrongdoing. Lastly, he said, the names of those who are not subject to criminal proceedings but whose role in the economic meltdown may be ethically questionable will be released.
“Despite the noise made by some, there is no intention of a cover-up,” Sylloures said.
According to its chairman, the committee aims to offer unanimous opinions in its report, but where disagreements exist, dissenting views will be recorded. The committee will convene on Monday to record all parties’ views on the draft text and add new chapters so that the final report can be presented to the House plenum on April 28.