Cyprus Mail
Business Cyprus

Laiki bondholders say they’ve been duped, again

By Angelos Anastasiou

THE Cyprus bondholders’ association came away from a meeting with Central Bank (CBC) governor Chrystalla Georghadji empty-handed yesterday, but warned that if their demand for a hearing with President Anastasiades is not granted they will be forced to take “unprecedented measures.”

Speaking after the meeting, association head Fivos Mavrovouniotis spoke of a great contradiction on the CBC’s part, as after issuing a report concluding that bondholders had been duped by commercial banks, it then issued a decree that left bonds with legacy Laiki after the bank was wound down.

Mavrovouniotis explained that the law allows the Resolution Authority – the CBC – to transfer the bonds to the Bank of Cyprus (BoC), which Georghadji claimed would be extremely difficult. He added that the BoC chairman had expressed some interest in settling the bonds issue out of court, but in order to do so they must be transferred from legacy Laiki to the BoC.

“They came and took our money, used it to recapitalise the bank so the country could survive, and financially executed thousands of people,” Mavrovouniotis said, adding that “now they are refusing to rectify their mistake by harmonising the law with the decree.”

The association’s leader said that following this development he contacted the Presidential Palace himself and asked that Anastasiades call a meeting with Georghadji, the BoC chairman, the head of the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and the Finance minister.

“In this meeting everyone will present their arguments in a concerted effort to share the burden. We are not asking for our money immediately – we are asking for our money over 7 or 8 years,” he said. “If this is not done, I am sorry to say we will commence an unyielding struggle, unprecedented in Cyprus.”

The association’s vice-president Stavros Yiallourides said that bondholders were in a very difficult spot, because even if they went to court and won the case the entity that is meant to reimburse them will be non-existent.

“They are playing legal games with us, forcing us into never-ending legal fights to secure a favourable decision against Laiki, a Laiki that no longer exists,” he said. “So where are we getting reimbursed from?”

Yiallourides said it is immoral to be forced into a legal battle without knowing where they might be reimbursed.

Asked what they got out of yesterday’s meeting, Yiallourides said they received promises for something better.

“Time passes and people can’t afford any more delays,” he said.

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