Cytavision, the television branch of state telecoms company CyTA, offered a senior co-op bank executive who also sits on its board, two ticket packages for UEFA Champions League games – for himself and another co-op senior executive – in a move censured by the auditor-general as “conflict of interest and abuse of power.”
The hospitality vouchers were given to co-op director Yiannis Stavrinides, who is also a member of the CyTA board, and co-op bank CEO Nicolas Hadiyiannis, both of whom turned down the gift “after our service noticed and raised the issue,” the auditor-general said in a report.
The packages were secured by CyTA as the company with the rights to broadcast UCL games on the island.
CyTA then allocates them out to clients under certain criteria for marketing purposes.
According to the auditor, a package was indirectly granted to a member of the board “supposedly because he is employed as a director at the Cyprus Co-operative Bank that is one of the authority’s (CyTA) big clients, which, based on the revenues it provides to the authority, was granted two trip packages.”
The client gave the two packages to the co-op bank CEO and the aforementioned director, who is also a member of the CyTA board, the report said.
The audit service said CyTA board members should not be given gifts in their capacity as clients because it created a conflict of interest and abuse of power.
On top of that, it exceeded the estimated value of a gift, €50, beyond which officials are mandated to declare them.
“As regards the inclusion of the co-op bank among clients eligible for suck perks, we consider it unacceptable since the CCB is a state company and should have been exempted,” the auditor said.
In response, CyTA told the audit service that the packages were not given because of Stavrinides’ capacity as a member of the board but was in line with the criteria regarding the provision of gifts to clients.