THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S office will be filing the charges against five former Bank of Cyprus (BoC) officials before the year is out, reports said on Thursday.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the AG would be filing the charge sheet to Nicosia district court in the coming days, after which instructions would be issued to take the case to trial before a criminal court.
Those to be indicted are former CEO Andreas Eliades, his successor Yiannis Kypri, former board chairman Theodoros Aristodemou, former vice chairman Andreas Artemi, and former first deputy CEO Yiannis Pehlivanidis, in charge of the bank’s Greek operations.
The bank as a legal entity is also part of the indictment.
Although the charges have yet to be revealed, citing its sources CNA said these would relate to market manipulation, false and misleading information relating to the bank’s capital adequacy, as well as conspiracy to mislead the public.
The crimes in question are punishable by imprisonment or a fine, or both.
It’s understood the charges draw on earlier findings by the Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). In June this year, CySEC slapped administrative fines on 12 former BoC officials for misleading investors through public statements.
The stock market watchdog fined Eliades, Kypri and Aristodemou €530,000 each. Among other allegations, Kypri reportedly announced on December 10, 2009, that the bank had evaluated Greek bonds as “risky” and intended to divest its holdings.
However, without informing investors, the bank subsequently purchased a large package of Greek bonds. The bonds crashed and burned in 2011 when European Union leaders agreed on a Greek debt write-down. Cypriot lenders lost an estimated €4.5bn as a result.
The charges against the five ex-BoC officials are expected to be the first batch of prosecutions resulting from a broad ongoing criminal inquiry into last year’s financial meltdown, which most notably led to the seizure of deposits in order to raise capital for two Cypriot lenders, BoC and Laiki.