Cyprus Mail

MPs let CBC boss off the hook

MPS HAVE apparently decided that Central Bank chief Panicos Demetriades did not mislead them after all over the mandate of a probe into the circumstances that forced the island’s two largest banks to seek state aid.

The House Ethics Committee, convening again yesterday behind closed doors, looks set to drop the matter.
Speaking to reporters later, AKEL deputy Aristos Damianou said that for his party “the issue is closed.”

Though the committee will deliver its official verdict when it next meets, reports said that all parties bar ruling DISY have agreed to let Demetriades off the hook.

The Central Bank boss was alleged to have misled parliament or to have withheld information over the terms of reference of audit firm Alvarez & Marsal, which appeared to focus on BoC.

A&M’s report contained little information on Laiki, which had been bailed out by the state to the tune of €1.8 billion and had been granted some €9.0 billion in emergency liquidity from the EU before the decision to wind it down.

Demetriades, who last week appeared before the committee together with his lawyer, denied any misconduct. He argued that Laiki had not been excluded from the probe, but that rather priority had been given to Bank of Cyprus as Laiki had been already nationalised, and authorities needed to see if the same issues existed that could have caused it a similar fate.

Another reason was to avoid jeopardising any court procedures, Demetriades had said. A recent interim court order has frozen around €3.5 billion worth of assets belonging to former Laiki strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos and two other people in a lawsuit against 12 natural and legal persons in Greece and Cyprus.

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