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Cyprus

MPs issue mild resolution to appease duped securities holders

By Elias Hazou

HOLDERS of securities in Bank of Cyprus and now-defunct Laiki Bank on Thursday mounted another demonstration outside parliament demanding compensation for their losses.

Police set up barricades around the parliament building. No violent incidents were reported.

The demonstrators flashed placards, accusing the government of feeding them empty promises. They held up a mock cheque, supposedly bearing President Anastasiades’ signature and inscribed: “Bounced.”

One placard, evidently directed at MPs, read: “Today you are voting. Next year, it’s our turn” – an allusion to the 2016 legislative elections.

A delegation was allowed inside parliament where MPs were at the time discussing the issue.

Ruling DISY tabled to the plenum a generically-phrased draft resolution, where the House pledges “to support, whenever circumstances permit, any measure possible to alleviate the huge losses suffered by the depositors of former Laiki Bank and Bank of Cyprus as well as the holders of securities and old shareholders, provided this measure does not put the Cypriot economy at risk.”

EDEK and the Greens jointly tabled another draft resolution, guaranteeing for each affected security holder the first €100,000. The resolution also calls for offsetting bank debt against the initial value of the securities in question.

The two draft resolutions are to be discussed on Monday at the House finance committee, with a view to putting them to a plenary vote next Thursday.

Bank of Cyprus (BoC) and now-defunct Laiki stopped paying interest on the securities, after incurring losses from a Greek sovereign debt write-down in 2011. Many investors claim they were told this was not a possibility, and some say they lost their life savings.

The securities offered a very attractive return of some 7 per cent in some cases, better than keeping the money in a savings account. Some bond holders have sued the banks claiming they were not properly informed of the risks.



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