By Staff Reporter
FIVE new district judges will be added to the judiciary to tackle the workload arising from hundreds of lawsuits filed against banks by securities holders.
Parliament last night approved by unanimous vote a government bill, which allocates €236,000 from the Republic’s consolidated fund – the government’s main bank account – for the creation of the five new positions.
The judges will be on the A16 pay grade (over €5,000 gross a month).
The Cyprus News Agency reported that around 1,000 lawsuits have been filed by securities holders claiming they were duped into investing in high-yield, high-risk bonds. The cases are expected to be tied up in the courts for at least a year.
The Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and now-defunct Laiki Bank stopped paying interest on the securities, after incurring losses from a Greek sovereign debt write-down in 2011. Many investors said they were told this was not a possibility, and some have said they lost their life savings.
The securities offered a very attractive return of some 7 per cent in some cases, a better return than keeping the money in a savings account. Some bond holders have sued the banks claiming they were not properly informed of the risks.