Cyprus Mail

Co-op committee hope to file report by January

The Co-op committee in session

The head of the committee investigating the collapse of the Cyprus Co-operative Bank (CCB), Georgios Aresti, on Friday gave reassurances that their work would yield results and their findings could be ready by January.

The three-member committee had a meeting with attorney-general, Costas Clerides, to discuss procedural matters, Aresti said. Clerides was the one to appoint the committee to look into how the lender’s non-performing loans had reached €7.5 billion as well as why the Co-op required €1.7bn in state assistance for its recapitalisation in 2014. It also aims to shed light on the way the lender was managed as well as on the decisions that contributed to its collapse and forced its sale to Hellenic Bank.

Following their meeting with Clerides, Aresti said that they never discuss with the AG issues concerning the findings of the report they are tasked with preparing.

“The attorney-general was the one to appoint the committee and he is responsible for the better conduct of its work,” Aresti said.

The meeting, he said, concerned how the committee could complete its task “in the best possible way, especially now that we are almost about to start preparing the report”.

“We had to have the means to be able to carry on,” he said.

On the refusal by the chairwoman of the European Central Bank’s Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Daniele Nouy last week to testify before the committee, Aresti said that even if EU institutions were negative to the committee’s calls to testify, “there are ways to overcome this.”

Aresti gave reassurances that members of the public will see a report based on the committee’s mandate: “It was clear, to find the causes of the demise of the Co-operative credit sector.”

He added that the committee – that had three months to complete its task – had been given a three-month extension.

“Do not worry about anything, the committee is working with diligence and there will be results,” he said.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the report is not expected before December due to the volume of the material that has been collected and that the hearings are expected to be completed by the end of October.

The committee’s meeting with the AG, concerned also its budget and the possibility of hiring advisors to assist the committee to go through and sort the testimonies and material it collected, the CNA said.

In addition to testimonies of former and current officials of the Co-op, and other stakeholders, the committee has also requested documents from the finance minister, central bank governor, auditor general, deputy director of parliament, cabinet’s secretary, the financial ombudsman, Cysec’s chairwoman, the commissioner for oversight and development of co-op companies as well as the chairman of Co-op’s board of directors and the Co-op’s director.


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