Despite themselves being partially blamed in the Co-op inquiry for the bank’s collapse, political parties were quick to call on Wednesday for Finance Minister Harris Georgiades to resign or be dismissed.
The sole exception was ruling Disy which said it backed the minister, who was largely blamed in the report for the demise of the Co-op, and argued that the committee’s approach seems to be imbalanced in terms of attributing responsibilities before and after the 2013 crisis.
Spokesman of main opposition Akel, Stefanos Stefanou, called for Georgiades’ resignation even though it would not be enough to clear the government from “one of the biggest financial scandals” ever to have taken place in the country.
“Government responsibilities are collective and cannot be written off,” Stefanou said. He added his party would say more after thoroughly studying the report, as it raises questions that may require further investigation.
“The report reveals the extend of the crime against Co-op and society,” Diko’s spokesman Pavlos Mylonas said.
The Co-op mainly collapsed under the pressure of non-performing loans while Diko’s suggestion since 2013 for the creation of a bad bank went unheeded, he said.
Mylonas said that the attorney-general ought to take over so that all culprits are brought to justice.
The Solidarity Movement and Edek expressed hope that the scandal would not go unpunished as others of the past such as that of the economy, the stock market and the closing down of Cyprus Airways.
The report, according to the Citizens’ Alliance, confirms what the party knew and had had been warning for years, namely that the minister had appointed his friends to run the bank despite their lack of appropriate skills and experience.
The Greens’ Giorgos Perdikis said the Republic needed to prove that where there are issues of criminal responsibility the state is capable of punishing. “We expect the government, and in particular the attorney-general, to study this material … and to attribute accountability as soon as possible.”
Disy said that it would first study the report before taking a final stand but it found that an imbalanced approach seemed to have been taken by the commission between the period before the 2013 crisis and the post-2013 period when the state ensured the savings of tens of thousands of small depositors, ensured the stability of the Cypriot economy and protected the thousands of jobs in the Co-op bank.
The main cause of the collapse of the Co-op, which was the lending policy of the bank that led to a non-viable non-performing loan portfolio, concerns mainly the pre-2013 period, Disy said.