Cyprus Mail

Savers and bondholders to stage new protest

Scenes from one of the numerous bondholders demonstrations outside the Bank of Cyprus (Photo: Christos Theodorides)

By Elias Hazou

BURNED savers and bank bondholders will be staging a demonstration outside the offices of the Legal Services in Nicosia on Friday morning.

The group will include, among others, legacy Laiki depositors who lost money in the March 2013 haircut, and Bank of Cyprus bondholders who say they were miss-sold high interest securities, also wiped out in the bail-in.

They will be protesting against the perceived delays in the ongoing police probe into the 2013 economic meltdown.

The bondholders in particular have been prone to violence during previous demonstrations.

News outlet Sigmalive reported that the demo could take a twist, with some of the protesters shouting their support for embattled deputy Attorney-general Rikkos Erotokritou.

A criminal probe into the financial bust was launched in July 2013, under the previous Attorney-general. Current Attorney-general Costas Clerides has taken flak from political circles for the perceived slow pace of the investigations.

So far, the Attorney-general’s office has prosecuted five former Bank of Cyprus (BoC) officials, now facing trial before a criminal court on charges relating to conspiracy to defraud and market manipulation.

The broader criminal investigation spans the years 2006 to 2013, covering the transfer of capital from Laiki Bank to Greece, dodgy loans, the issuing of securities by both Laiki and BoC, and banks’ activities abroad, such as BoC’s acquisition of Uniastrum and Banca Transilvania.

Cyprus agreed to a €10bn aid package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union in March 2013 after its two major lenders, BoC and Laiki were all but decimated by their heavy exposure to debt-crippled Greece.

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