Cyprus Mail

Large-scale demonstration planned over fallout from co-op closure

FARMERS, educators, pensioners, and community organisations will be staging a demonstration on Wednesday March 27, to protest against the developments which led to the Co-op bank closure and its consequences.

The demonstration is set to begin outside the Pasydy premises at 6.30pm, and will end outside the presidential palace where demonstrators will oppose the unfair treatment they say they have been subjected to following the closure of the Co-op bank, and voice their reactions against the developing scandal regarding the mismanagement that led to the closure.

According to the head of primary school teachers’ union Poed, Filios Fylaktou, on Friday, the organisations will be demonstrating against the developments that led to the closure of the Co-op bank, “and to the tragic consequences” that the Cypriot people had to face.

The aim of the demonstration, Fylaktou said, is to assign responsibility to those who have been shown to have contributed to the collapse of the bank, and to demand their punishment.

Earlier in the month, a report on the demise of the Co-op found was released which held Finance Minister Harris Georgiades mainly responsible for the bank’s collapse under the weight of some €7bn in bad debts and its sale to Hellenic Bank.

The president and his government have disputed the findings of the committee, with Anastasiades reiterating his support for Georgiades.

The three-member panel had recommended further investigation into possible criminal offences committed by senior members including former CEO Nicolas Hadjiyiannis.

Demonstrators will also demand that real-estate that is owned and managed by its cooperative savings fund, and which fell to government hands after the demise of the bank, is returned to them.

The general secretary of the Pancyprian farmer’s union Pek, Michalis Lytras, said that beyond the commercial sector, efforts were being made to re-activate the Cooperative Credit Sector (CCS), since cooperative companies are still active.

Various regional conferences have been held on the matter, Lytras added, with interested community leaders agreeing to move forward with the creation of a cooperative institution.

According to the general secretary of the Panagrotikos farmers’ union Tasos Yiapanis, the state-owned Cyprus Asset Management Company (Kedipes), which was established following the sale of the former Cyprus Cooperative Bank to Hellenic Bank, currently owns 2,800 co-op properties.

These properties, he said, were built “by the bare hands and modest wages of famers, educators, and simple people”.

In meetings with the relevant government officials, Yiapanis added, the organisations were told that there was a legal outlet for the return of the properties to the organisations and communities to which they previously belonged.

The legal outlet would involve the return of the seized properties to the union of municipalities and communities, which are extensions of the state, before they are rented out at low prices to the agricultural sector and other organisations.



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