By Angelos Anastasiou
THE EUROPEAN Central Bank (ECB) has asked police in Cyprus to postpone investigations on five hard drives seized from the Central Bank of Cyprus, pending the arrival of an electronics specialist despatched to attend the investigations, daily Phileleftheros reported on Monday.
Police have been probing the leaking of a list containing parliamentarians and their loan portfolios at the Bank of Cyprus – including loans in the red – to Politis newspaper last March, following a violation of privacy complaint filed by independent deputy Zacharias Koulias, named in the list.
The investigation, which by May had resulted in the seizing of documents and hard drives from the Central Bank, spurred the ECB into action as it saw Eurosystem confidentiality in jeopardy. According to Phileleftheros, it was CBC governor Chrystalla Georghadji who complained to ECB boss Mario Draghi.
Less than a week later, Draghi sent a letter to President Nicos Anastasiades, warning against violating Eurosystem confidentiality. Anastasiades replied that he had no authority over police investigations, and referred him to Attorney General Costas Clerides.
The AG informed Draghi that the investigation does not relate to Eurosystem data, and that the object was solely to ascertain whether the leak was perpetrated from the CBC.
At the same time, Clerides ordered that the investigation be suspended until an ECB rep – a specialist on electronic matters – could be despatched to the island, in order to witness investigations first-hand and make sure Eurosystem confidentiality is not breached.
Amidst the political uproar caused when the list went public, the Bank of Cyprus, which had originally compiled it, said it had been requested by Georghadji herself.
The CBC countered that neither the governor, nor any other CBC official, had ever requested such a list, but only became aware of its existence from a press report, at which point it duly asked the Bank of Cyprus to provide relevant information.
This version was later confirmed by the Bank of Cyprus.
“The CBC never made this document public, nor does it have any responsibility for its publication,” a statement said.
“Therefore, any claim that the CBC leaked this document to the press is unfounded and unsubstantiated.”