Cyprus Mail

AG: politicians should stick to what they know

Attorney-general Costas Clerides

ATTORNEY-general Costas Clerides on Monday had some choice words for politicians, suggesting they should stick to what they know best.

Appearing on a CyBC television news show, Clerides hit out at MPs and political party leaders who have continued complaining that investigations into the 2013 financial meltdown are moving at a snail’s pace.

Although the criticism is not new, this time an irate AG marshalled sarcasm in hitting out at his detractors.
“Every time in this country, whenever a major issue arises, unfortunately various people come out of the woodwork posing as experts though they lack the scientific expertise or experience,” Clerides snapped.

“We do not wait for anyone, be it an MP or a political party leader, to point out to us how to do our job,” he added.

An ongoing police probe into the causes of the March 2013 banking debacle – when savers at two Cypriot banks saw all or part of their uninsured deposits wiped out – has dragged out, but Clerides has repeatedly stated that authorities must gather the right evidence that can stand up in court.

To date, the AG’s office has decided to prosecute five former Bank of Cyprus officials, as well as the bank as a legal entity, on charges related to investor manipulation.

Earlier, Clerides had said that investigations into goings-on at Laiki Bank were at an “advanced stage.”
The top lawman hinted that possible indictments relating to Laiki would concern the 2005 to 2013 period.

In 2005, Laiki’s share capital structure underwent a change following the acquisition of a strategic share by Andreas Vgenopoulos’ Marfin and the Tosca Investment Fund, after HSBC’s decision to sell its stake in the bank’s share capital.

The wider police probe spans the years 2006 to 2013. Its scope covers the expansion into Greece, banks’ corporate governance, Cypriot banks’ purchase of junk Greek bonds, and how now-defunct Laiki Bank came to amass some €9bn in emergency liquidity, a liability since passed onto Bank of Cyprus.

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