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Our View: Raid on Central Bank offices a sham investigation

STATE AUTHORITIES seem to be going out of their way to look unprofessional and untrustworthy as Tuesday’s raid of the office of the Central Bank governor illustrated. Policemen turned up at the Central Bank building brandishing court warrants which allowed them to examine the PCs of the governor and three of her closest associates. This was part of their investigation to establish who had leaked the list of deputies and the non-performing loans each had to the media, because it was a violation of the law on personal data.

Police had conducted the investigation after receiving a complaint from deputy Zacharias Koulias who was on the list. There was no such investigation when deputies had leaked a list with the names of managers and directors of the Bank of Cyprus and how much each owed, presumably because the rights of our elected representatives are more important than those of the rest of us. Why had Koulias, who is concerned about protecting personal data, not filed a complaint with the police back then?

The issue here is that the police are being used by the politicians to further undermine the Central Bank governor Chrystalla Georghadji. Why were she and her subordinates considered the only suspects in the case? Should the police not have gone to the headquarters of the Bank of Cyprus which had drafted the list of deputies’ NPLs, for its own purposes, and checked the PCs of the three executives that had a copy of it? Could one of the BoC executives not have leaked the list to the media and why were they above suspicion? Then there were the two Central Bank directors who said they had seen list during a House committee meeting. They could also have had a copy. And what about the newspaper that printed the list, had it not broken the law?

All this strengthens the view that the only objective of the investigation was to pile on the pressure on Georghadji, whom the political parties want out. Yesterday morning there were politicians still repeating the allegation that the governor would use the list to blackmail deputies, for which there was no evidence whatsoever. If this were the case why hadn’t any deputy reported the governor’s alleged blackmail, which is a much more serious crime than divulging personal date, to the police?

What is more worrying was that the attorney-general gave the go-ahead for the police to proceed with this sham investigation that had as its sole objective the public embarrassment of the governor. The AG probably gave his consent so that he would not be accused by the political parties of protecting the governor, but he should have also asked the police why they were not investigating other individuals that could have leaked the list to the media, if only to show that this was not a mockery of an investigation.

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