By George Psyllides
FORMER Laiki strongman Andreas Vgenopoulos claimed on Tuesday that an interview with the state broadcaster had been pulled because he disclosed the names of people linked to a company currently under investigation as part of the probe into the collapse of the economy.
Vgenopoulos also said that during the “limited time” of the two-hour interview he also substantiated the responsibility of the island’s political and financial establishment for the destruction.
In the interview, Vgenopoulos said he disclosed the names of two Cypriots with political ties who were also linked to ship owner Michalis Zolotas.
Zolotas’ Focus Maritime Corporation paid a million euro to a company belonging to the daughter of former Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou and allegedly funded main opposition AKEL and ruling DISY with €1.5 million and €500,000 respectively.
“I refer to the above with their names and give evidence while I reveal a series of other scandals and illegalities,” he said. “In the limited time of the interview I substantiate the full responsibilities of Cyprus’ political and financial establishment in nationalising Laiki and the economic catastrophe.”
The man whom many blame for the collapse of the island’s banking system, said he was called by the CyBC’s Elita Michaelidou 20 days requesting an interview.
Michaelidou, Vgenopoulos said in a written statement, told him that she had already received the approval of her superiors.
It was agreed to record the interview in Athens on Friday, May 16.
The day before, Michaelidou called Vgenopoulos to inform him that her superiors had withdrawn their approval but she insisted in recording the interview because she would continue her efforts to convince them to air it.
“I agreed on condition that the recording would be done by a Greek crew and if the CyBC insisted on banning its broadcast, then I would have the right to publish the interview through a different television station in Cyprus or Greece, or through the internet,” Vgenopoulos said.
CyBC brass said, after being informed of the contents of the interview, that a decision on whether to air it would be taken after the European Parliamentary elections on May 25.
“In my view CyBC’s position is the equivalent of refusal… and if I do not receive assurances by the end of the day (Tuesday) that the interview will be broadcast on a specific day, without cuts, I will seek a different way of airing it,” Vgenopoulos said.