By George Psyllides
FORMER Laiki Bank strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos and four associates failed to appear before the House Ethics Committee on Friday to testify about the reasons that led to the collapse of the island’s banking system.
“Our guests did not appear; they did not want to help the work of the committee, to express their views transparently and democratically,” chairman Demetris Syllouris said.
Along with Vgenopoulos, the committee had invited former Laiki CEO Efthimios Bouloutas, and the members of the now defunct lender’s executive committee Kyriacos Magiras, Demetris Spanodemos, and Michalis Zolotas.
Syllouris said the committee would go ahead and put its report together nevertheless. Vgenopoulos, Syllouris said, had willingly appeared twice before the committee in the past.
“I’ll let society draw its own conclusions,” the MP said.
The committee could take legal measures against Vgenopoulos and the others but Syllouris said that would not be the case.
“But because we operate on good faith and good will, and without considering anyone guilty – we thought everyone we invited could help us in our task — we will not go into that procedure,” Syllouris said.
Vgenopoulos responded by accusing the committee of violating the constitution by not giving him the chance to express his views with the pretext that he supposedly set conditions if he were to appear.
“Truth is I did not set any conditions; I just asked politely for a procedure that would allow me to comment on matters that took place inside five years and respond to hundreds of hours of inaccuracies and mudslinging,” he said in a statement.
Vgenopoulos said the committee only looked into the developments in Laiki up until November 2011, when the lender was managed by Greeks, and did not bother with the period when the bank was managed by the state-installed executives who led it to collapse 18 months later.
Former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides is also scheduled to testify before the committee, which rejected his request to do so through teleconferencing.
Orphanides, who lives and works in the US, is scheduled to testify this coming Tuesday.
Syllouris said the rules demand that a person must physically appear before the committee, something that will be explained to the former governor in an email.
The committee’s report is expected to be ready late in January.