Cyprus Mail

Archbishop disapproves of BoC goings-on

Archbishop Chrysostomos on Wednesday expressed his disapproval of proceedings in the Bank of Cyprus and suggested that shareholders should let him represent them so that he put things in order.

The primate’s main gripe appeared to be the involvement of the Central Bank (CBC), which he described as “unacceptable.”

“You cannot have an authority like the CBC, which is the regulator, say what will happen in BoC,” the head of the Church of Cyprus told the state broadcaster.

The Church is a major shareholder in Hellenic Bank but also has shares in BoC.

Without naming names, Chrysostomos said some people were trying to put the stricken lender under their control.

“I am tempted to ask all shareholders to nominate me as their representative so that I appear at the AGM to put things in order,” he said.

Chrysostomos said the new board of directors should be allowed to decide and smaller shareholders should also have a say in the proceedings.

The archbishop had also opposed the idea of splitting the lender in two and transferring certain problematic real estate loans into a separate entity.

The CBC is currently engaged in talks with all interested parties regarding the new structure of BoC’s share capital.

Eighteen per cent – the largest share — of that is currently held by the administrator of the now defunct Laiki Bank.

The EU decided in March to wind down Laiki and transfer certain assets to BoC, which, according to the same decision, had to seize 47.5 per cent of its clients’ uninsured deposits and use them for recapitalisation.

Depositors received equity in return.

Reports said around 15 per cent of the shares are now held by – mostly Russian — foreign nationals.

They will soon be asked to choose a new broad of directors and a CEO who will have to lead the lender to recovery.

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