Cyprus Mail

Questions remain over status of ex-Laiki depositors

By Angelos Anastasiou

The association of former Laiki’s depositors (SYKALA) continued its effort to secure the rights to 18 per cent equity in Bank of Cyprus, formed when legacy Laiki was absorbed by the lender after it was wound down, meeting with DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos on Friday.

Addressing the press after the meeting, Papadopoulos acknowledged that various questions remained pending with regard to the status of ex-Laiki’s creditors, which require answers.

“One such question is who currently manages 18 per cent stake in the Bank of Cyprus,” he said,  as well as questions relating to how the company’s resolution was progressing and the utilisation of legacy Laiki’s assets.

Papadopoulos opined that the finance minister should provide answers as soon as possible, announcing that he would be introducing the issue for discussion during Monday’s session of the House Finance Committee, which he heads.

“Laiki’s depositors, creditors, and shareholders have a right to know, and to know what are the prospects of recouping even part of the huge losses they incurred during the last year,” he said.

SYKALA’s head Adonis Papakonstantinou said the primary goal of the round of meetings with political parties was to secure a resolution by the House for the moral satisfaction of Laiki’s creditors.

“The second goal is to inform parliamentary parties of the status of Laiki’s 18 per cent stake in the Bank of Cyprus,” he said.

Papakonstantinou explained that the association appealed to the courts with a request to call a shareholders’ general assembly so that Laiki’s creditors could be updated on the state of their assets, only to be denied by both the tribunal and the appeals court. But the courts, he said, decided that the resolution authority had the power to call a general assembly. He said this invited the question of why it refuses to do so.

“No one challenges the fact that all of Laiki’s remaining assets belong to its creditors and no one else,” he argued, expressing the opinion that the 18 per cent issue had turned into a never-ending saga.

According to Papakonstantinou, recent talk of devolving the voting rights of the 18 per cent stake in Bank of Cyprus to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) raise several questions. SYKALA has recently held a press conference in which they argued that Martin Verwey – the European Commission’s chief in the Cyprus Troika mission – also sits on the EBRD’s board, resulting in an unacceptable conflict of interest.

“The association’s view is that such a decision would effectively place the Bank of Cyprus under the Troika’s control, and such a development would neither make the association, nor any Cypriot citizen, happy,” he concluded.

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