Cyprus Mail

MPs angry over lack of cooperation

House Ethics Committee chairman Demetris Syllouris

By Stefanos Evripidou

CHAIRMAN OF the House Ethics Committee Demetris Syllouris yesterday expressed “anger” and “disappointment” at the lack of cooperation between the competent authorities looking into the various goings on in the financial system before its near collapse last March.

The committee yesterday convened behind closed doors to discuss what it was going to do with the material gathered during its investigation of the financial system. The committee concluded that it would hand over all material to the Attorney-general’s office.

The meeting was attended by the justice minister, central bank governor, anti-money laundering unit, Securities and Exchange Commission, Cyprus Stock Exchange, VAT Commissioner and Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

Speaking to reporters later, Syllouris said the meeting led to “disappointment” and “anger” on his part “because the difficulty of the relevant institutions to coordinate and align their efforts towards seeing justice served was made obvious”.

Parliament would look into how it could help to create better coordination among the relevant services and departments and amend certain laws to facilitate the course of justice, he said.

Syllouris said no one should be punished just to satisfy public sentiment, but “basic logic dictates that either as a result of wrong decisions, omissions, or entanglements the whole economic system has collapsed”.

The MPs reportedly heard that personal data laws were creating obstacles in the investigation by the IRD into the 6,000-odd legal entities and natural persons that took money out of the country just before or in between the two Eurogroup decisions last March.

The ethics committee had asked the IRD to investigate and report on whether the deposits taken out were legitimate and whether the necessary taxes had been paid in relation to those deposits.

Another gripe from MPs was the inadequate data given to the committee following a request to the Central Bank of Cyprus.

According to Syllouris, the issues that the committee is interested in looking into with regard to the near collapse of the financial system include: bank securities, bank transactions, tax obligations of those who withdrew deposits before the Eurogroup decision, emergency liquidity assistance, the purchase of foreign banks, the co-operative movement, loans to bank officials and others, the findings of the Alvarez & Marsal report, Pimco, the deletion of banking data from banks’ archives, and allegations of money laundering.

The committee will not stop until it feels justice has been served, he said.

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