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Defence lawyer in BoC case calls for state to find real culprits

former BoC CEO Andreas Eliades

When the state puts the real suspects for the collapse of the economy on the stand due decisions will be taken, the defence lawyer for two suspects acquitted of market manipulation said on Friday.
Chris Triantafyllides was the defence lawyer for former chairman of the Bank of Cyprus board Andreas Artemi and former head of the lender’s Greek operations Yiannis Pehlivanides, who were acquitted on Thursday by the criminal court along with two of the bank’s other former top brass, Yiannis Kypri and Theodoros Aristodemou. The men had been charged with failing to give investors enough information about the bank’s capital position in 2012.
The bank and its former CEO Andreas Eliades were found guilty in the same case of market manipulation through misleading statements to investors about the lender’s capital shortfall in June 2012. On December 20 the court will hear mitigating arguments in favour of Eliades and the bank prior to sentencing.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC radio, Triantafyllides said that the state legal services could not prove the four acquitted were guilty.
“They were innocent, the legal services had to prove they were guilty,” Triantafyllides said.
On criticism by media and members of the public on the acquittals, Triantafyllides said that this case should not be linked with the collapse of the Cypriot economy and that the state should look elsewhere for suspects.
“The people are right, it was a huge financial disaster, many were ruined financially, and it is the responsibility of the state to put to the stand the right suspects for this case. When this happens, when the right suspects are brought to justice, the due decisions will be taken,” Triantafyllides said.
He added that authorities should question those who were supervising the banks, namely the central bank.
“The banks were supervised by the central bank […] nobody went to ask them for any explanations,” Triantafyllides said.
The criminal court ruling made headlines in the major local daily newspapers on Friday, with many expressing their disappointment at the outcome.
Politis said that the ruling was ‘a new failure of the legal services’ as the first case against the BoC was ‘lost’.
“So much for prosecuting the guilty parties for the financial disaster,” Politis said.
Phileleftheros’ main headline was ‘Lost opportunities’. The results of the first major trial concerning the collapse of the economy, the daily said, do not respond to the excessive expectations that have been created.
Alithia said that the BoC and Eliades had it easy as they were found guilty of only one of the five charges against them.
Haravgi said that the first trial of the bankers was lost.
The only two parties to protest the court decision were the Greens and Edek.

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