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Business Cyprus

AG suspends case against former CBC boss

Former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides

THE attorney-general has suspended the prosecution of former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides who was one of the defendants in a private criminal prosecution against members of the former Laiki bank brass in connection with the alleged mis-selling of bank securities.

The attorney-general, who has the authority to suspend all criminal prosecutions on the island, informed the court in writing of his decision.

The reasons behind his decision were not made explicit in reports, but the lawyers of former Laiki chairman Andreas Vgenopoulos and former Laiki CEO Efhtimios Bouloutas asked for time to appeal.

Clerides’ decision was announced during a hearing at the Paphos district court yesterday of a case filed by a resident of Polis Chrysochous claiming he was duped by Laiki bank into buying high risk, high-yield bonds.

Vgenopoulos and Bouloutas failed to show up and have not yet entered a plea.

Their lawyers asked the court to postpone the hearing to ascertain whether the way their clients were served the charge sheet had been lawful, but also to be given time to request from the attorney-general to suspend prosecution of their clients.

The court set a new hearing for October 30.

Also facing charges are Laiki (Popular) bank as a legal entity; former Laiki executives, Neoclis Lyssandrou, Christos Stylianides, Panayiotis Kounnis; and Kalia Efstathiou who used to work at a Laiki branch in Paphos. All four have pleaded not guilty.

Cyprus was forced to shut down Laiki as part of an international bailout agreement.

A number of bondholders in the island’s major banks claim they were duped into investing high-yield bonds without being informed of the risks.

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