Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides asked the Cyprus Stock Exchange to seek legal advice over a possible case of conflict of interest concerning its vice-chairman Savvas Haperis, who is also an employee of Hellenic Bank, which is a publicly listed company.
The issue arose after Haperis, formerly an employee of the now-defunct Cyprus Cooperative Bank (CCB), was transferred to Hellenic Bank, which took over the former’s operation. He was appointed vice chairman of the CSE last May, when he was still working for the CCB.
Michaelides, according to daily Phileleftheros, in a letter to the chairman of the CSE, pointed out there was no issue when he was appointed because CCB was not listed on the stock exchange, Hellenic was. The employment of the vice chairman of the CSE at a publicly-listed bank constituted conflict of interest, said Michaelides.
According to the law, Michaelides said in his letter, board members of the CSE should not have a substantive interest in a company whose shares are listed on the CSE.
“By pointing out the seriousness of the issue, it is our recommendation that you seek urgent advice from your legal advisor and inform us accordingly so that we may judge whether we need to consult the Attorney-general of the Republic for our own guidance,” Michaelides said in the letter.
The paper claimed Haperis was a friend of Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, who has been repeatedly censured by Michaelides for allegedly appointing his friends. A few weeks ago he suggested that the appointment of Yiannos Stavrinides to the Cyta board by the council of ministers was a mistake because the man was the ‘koumbaros’ of Georgiades.
Michaelides sought the advice of the attorney-general who said that Georgiades’ presence at the cabinet meeting, which decided Stavrinides’ appointment, may have violated the principle of impartiality.