Cyprus Mail
Business Cyprus

Countdown to ‘name and shame’ decision

By George Psyllides

THE House Ethics Committee will decide today whether to publish the names of people and companies, which transferred money abroad in the days before a decision to seize bank deposits and while the island’s banking system went into lockdown after that decision was made.

The lists are included in a findings report drafted by the committee following an 18-month investigation into the collapse of the economy.

Committee chairman Demetris Syllouris said the new Central Bank (CBC) administration appeared prepared to hand over all the information about the transfers during all the critical periods, from June 2012 when parliament approved €1.8 billion to support the now defunct Laiki Bank, the period around October 2011 when the EU decided to write-down Greek bonds – something that caused huge losses for Cypriot banks – the days before a March 15 decision to seize deposits, and the 10 days after that when banks went into a lockdown.

Syllouris said the committee did not have all the information regarding outflows after the decision to prop up Laiki and the bond write-down.

CBC Governor Chrystalla Georghadji told MPs that the regulator will carry out checks on transactions in all periods to determine whether any irregularities had taken place.

Georghadji said she intended to conduct sample checks and comparison of data included in all lists of outflows over €100,000 to determine who was behind the transfers and whether those made during the lockdown, had been approved by the CBC.

The committee’s report will be discussed by the plenum on May 6.

The committee had decided before Easter to publish around 11,000 names of people and companies that transferred funds abroad in the run-up to the controversial deposit seizure last year, received low-interest loans and/or had loans written off by banks.

However, following the reaction of banks, businesses and professionals, the island’s biggest parties, DISY and AKEL, came out against the publication of the list, arguing it would discriminate against those who committed no wrong, and hurt the island’s economy.

Critics argue that publishing the list en masse would also bury the names of those who might have had prior access to sensitive information on the bail-in and acted upon it.

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