Cyprus Mail

BoC defendants cannot be let off in same way as in prior trial

MPs will be writing to the banks association, asking it to weigh in on the steep fee increases to be charged by Bank of Cyprus

The context considered in a pretrial motion that got two former bank executives acquitted of market manipulation charges cannot apply to other defendants, the Nicosia criminal court said on Wednesday, upholding the position of the attorney-general in the third case brought by the state against Bank of Cyprus (BoC) executives.

The defence argued that the previous context of events was binding for the state, as was the fact that the defendants had testified or had been called to testify as prosecution witnesses in the two previous criminal cases against the lender and its executives.

In a decision that was later upheld by the supreme court, the criminal court acquitted former BoC executives Andreas Eliades and Yiannis Kypri of charges relating to alleged market manipulation by falsifying the lender’s 2010 annual report.

They were accused of conspiring to reclassify the bank’s holdings in Greek bonds – with an effective date of April 1, 2010 – with intent to defraud investors.

The bonds were reclassified in a manner as to indicate the bank had suffered fewer losses than it actually did, conveying a better picture overall of the lender’s financials.

In turn, this resulted in the stock value being listed higher than it would otherwise have been – a move which state prosecutors believe is tantamount to market manipulation.

The prosecution asserted that the date on a document containing the minutes of a meeting of the BoC Group’s Assets and Liabilities Committee (ALCO) of April 7, 2010 had been altered.

The December 14, 2018 decision followed a pretrial motion by the defence, which argued that the charges shared the same foundation as two previous cases regarding BoC in which the two executives had been acquitted.

The case continues for Christis Hadjimitsis, Nicolas Karidas, Christodoulos Patsalides, Eliza Livadiotou and Despina Kyriakidou.

Following the recent supreme court decision to uphold the verdict, the defence had expressed its intention to raise the same pretrial motion.

Attorney-general Costas Clerides argued that the facts of that case had only been made admissible for the purposes of the Eliades-Kypri motion exclusively and were not binding.

The court said Wednesday the facts of that case were not binding for the prosecution since they only concerned hearing the motion in question.

“We agree with the position of the attorney-general,” the court said, noting its concern over the possibility of further delays in hearing the substance of the case because of the absence of an agreed new framework of events.

The case continues on July 24.

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