PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades remained tight-lipped on Tuesday over his meeting with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi as a group of old Bank of Cyprus (BoC) shareholders demand a debt saddled on the lender to be written off .
“Anything said in public will not benefit what we are seeking and consequently I would not want to make a specific comment,” he said.
Anastasiades said Wednesday’s talks will be on the banking system and the ECB’s authority.
Meanwhile, the association of old BoC shareholders want Anastasiades to ask the ECB chief to write off €8 billion from a €9 billion debt representing emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) transferred to BoC after Laiki Bank was shut down.
Association chairman Eleftherios Ioannou was quoted in daily Simerini newspaper as saying that BoC inherited the debt when the Eurogroup decided to shut Laiki down and seize deposits to recapitalise BoC.
Ioannou said €5 billion in ELA was transferred to Greece to cover the capital flight in the country in 2012. Some €3.4 billion represented the losses Cypriot banks incurred when they were forced to sell their Greek operations in exchange for the country receiving a €10 billion bailout.
Cypriot banks also suffered some €4.5 billion in losses – around 25 per cent of GDP – when former president Demetris Christofias unconditionally agreed to a Greek debt write-down in 2011.
Ioannou appeared certain that Cyprus could make the demand.
“The losses in Cyprus stem from covering the problems faced by Greece, which was helped by the EU. Cyprus paid the price without being given any assistance,” he was quoted as saying.