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Politically exposed persons linked to €146m in Co-op bad loans

The co-op inquiry continued on Monday

Over 1,100 politically-exposed persons (PEP) had accounts in the former Co-op Bank and 623 of these are connected to non-performing loans, the probe into the collapse of the bank heard on Wednesday.

A former Co-op senior manager, Varnavas Kourounas who is currently the managing director of Altamira Asset Management told the committee the number of PEP accounts totalled 1,156. The PEPs include not just politicians but community leaders.

Of the 623 which relate to non-performing loan accounts the total amounts to €146m in bad loans as of August 31, this year.

According to Kourounas €54 million worth have been restructured, €11 million worth are in process of restructuring, and €54 million have been terminated and transferred to the Recovery Directorate for legal measures, while €5 million worth is pending for handling.

The Cyprus Cooperative Bank, recapitalised with €1.7bn in taxpayers’ money in 2014 and 2015, was forced to sell its operations to Hellenic Bank after it failed to reduce its non-performing loans stock of €7bn fast enough, which ultimately wiped out its equity.

The agreement with Altamira was announced a year ago and was implemented in January, and was too little too late to save the bank, which in March decided to seek a buyer for its operations and assets.
The probe into the collapse began almost a month ago with a committee appointed by attorney-general Costas Clerides tasked with probing the reasons that led to the demise of the state-owned bank.

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