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Cyprus

State attorneys poring over co-op probe findings

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

State attorneys have been poring over the findings of a probe into the collapse of the co-op bank trying to establish whether further investigation into the possibility of criminal or civil offences but a lot of work is still necessary due to the size of the report.

The report was handed over to the attorney-general on March 1 and was made public four days later.

It mainly blames Finance Minister Harris Georgiades for the collapse of the lender and its subsequent sale to Hellenic Bank. It also recommends further investigation into whether former CEO and other executives had committed any other offences.

Attorney-general Costas Clerides has set up teams who have been studying the findings that span some 800 pages.

The Cyprus News Agency said the two teams have been meeting regularly to discuss whether further probes were warranted based on the report.

Clerides had said that the possibility of other offences having been committed will be examined irrespective of whether they led to the collapse or not.

On Wednesday, some 3,000 people from over 20 organisations took part in a demonstration outside the presidential palace to demand the punishment of those responsible.

The demonstrators also demanded that real estate belonging to the former co-ops be returned to the communities.

The report also assigned blame on the president and the cabinet, parliament, parties, the central bank, and the European single supervisory mechanism.

President Nicos Anastasiades disagreed with the report’s finding that Georgiades was politically responsible for the co-op’s ultimate fate.

“I might have deemed the minister responsible had the collapse of the co-op been the result of delinquent loans amassed after 2013,” he noted.

He was alluding to the year when the lender was nationalised, inheriting billions in bad debts.

Georgiades announced later that he intended to step down by the end of the year, arguing however that his decision was not linked with the co-op issue.

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