By Constantinos Psillides
POLITICAL parties on Saturday demanded the punishment of those to blame for the collapse of the banking sector, following the release of the report by the House ethics committee on the reasons for the financial meltdown.
The report, released on Friday afternoon, concluded that the management and officials of the now defunct Laiki bank acted in a methodical, systematic and criminal manner that led the lender, and, at the same time, the Cypriot economy to collapse.
This in the view of the committee, in combination with the loss of deposits, was the main reason for the continuous increase of emergency liquidity assistance that brought about the dramatic collapse of the banking sector in Cyprus, the report said.
Committee chairman, EVROKO MP Demetris Syllouris told CyBC radio on Saturday that it was now up to the justice system to act before the evidence disappeared.
“Some bankers should have already been arrested, interrogated and made to answer for their actions,” said the EVROKO MP.
“It is the people’s demand that the scandal is thoroughly investigated and that those found guilty suffer the consequences of their actions.”
Main opposition party AKEL said that an objective reading of the report led to the conclusion that a small number of bankers from both banks were to blame for the financial crisis, through their actions and deliberate oversights. AKEL also blamed former Central Bank governor Athanasios Orphanides, who ran the bank at the time the actions examined by the ethics committee report took place. AKEL also laid blame on the current administration, accusing President Nicos Anastasiades of accepting the deposit hair cut and the selling-off of Cypriot banks in Greece
Nicholas Papadopoulos, leader of DIKO, also asked the legal services to utilise the report, “so as those who are responsible for the meltdown answer before a court”. Papadopoulos added that the report clearly indicated that the banks followed “criminal practices over the last years”, while he also blamed the previous CBC governor, Panicos Demetriades, for not dealing with the troika of lenders effectively.
EDEK MP Feidias Sarikas said that his party was not satisfied by the report, explaining that although it shed light on what happened it did not include a clear conclusion of who was to blame or a list of politically exposed people who moved their money prior to the deposit haircut.
The report, spanning some 440 pages, 1200 with the annexes, covers an 18-month investigation carried out by the committee into the collapse of the economy.