Cyprus Mail

Co-op probe findings to be made public on Wednesday

File photo: Former supreme court judge Giorgos Aresti (L) presenting the findings to the attorney-general

The investigating committee that carried out a probe into the demise of the co-op bank announced it would make its findings public on Wednesday noon.

The findings will be published on the Cyprus News Agency website, the announcement said.

The findings report had been handed over to the attorney-general last Friday.

In the report, spanning over 800 pages, the three-member panel headed by former supreme court judge Giorgos Aresti, recommended further investigation into the possibility of commission of civil and criminal offences.

The committee also identified political culpability in the lender’s demise.

The report was the result of a seven-month probe into the causes of the bank’s collapse, starting in 1985 when new procedures were put in place.

It is divided in the period before 2013, the year the island’s economy collapsed and the lender was nationalised using some €1.7bn in taxpayer money, and its management during the five years that followed, resulting in it being shuttered in 2018 and sold to Hellenic Bank.

In both periods “we find that there is scope for further investigations into the possibility of the commission of civil and criminal offences,” Aresti said. He added that his committee also identified political culpability in both periods.

“… the main cause of the co-op’s problems was the human factor, especially the neglect, incompetence, and worse of all, lack of restrain, and greed of the many people who had been tasked with leading and serving the co-op,” Aresti said.

The committee questioned 75 witnesses during 40 hearings; it has gathered 2,781 pages of statements and 120,000 documents.

The co-op was compelled to sell its operations to Hellenic Bank in June 2018 after its failure to reduce its non-performing loan stock fast enough, wiped out its equity.

The state-owned lender was jointly supervised by the Central Bank of Cyprus and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM).


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