By Evie Andreou
FIVE former Bank of Cyprus (BoC) executives, as well as the bank itself, were charged by the Legal Services yesterday of market manipulation and false and misleading information relating to the bank’s capital adequacy.
Attorney General Costas Clerides said that the hearing has been set for January 30 and that the prosecution will ask for the case to be referred to the Criminal Court.
The charges were filed against 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.
Clerides said that the police files indicated a clear case of committing criminal offenses, while investigations concerning Laiki Bank continue with the help of foreign experts.
The decision to prosecute the five was leaked to the press on Wednesday before the official announcement was made, a matter which urged the AG to issue a disapproving announcement yesterday morning.
“It is very sad indeed and worrying that the press leaks aim to serve expediencies, trying to cause a blow to the Legal services, by selectively releasing meeting details as to what preceded and was discussed before a final decision was taken on a serious matter concerning a criminal case of great importance,” the announcement said.
The AG, the announcement said, had no intention of following the poor example of others and that he did not intend to give his own explanations as to what has been said.
The announcement also said that each decision taken by the AG is based on sound legal fundamentals that can substantiate it and do not aim to impress the public or to reap credits for seemingly brave decisions.
The charges against the five former BoC officials are expected to be the first in a number of prosecutions resulting from a broad ongoing criminal inquiry into last year’s financial meltdown, which led to the seizure of deposits in order to raise capital for two Cypriot lenders, BoC and Laiki.