Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Banks and top officials called to special meeting over PEPs list

Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides

The House watchdog committee will on Thursday discuss loan write-offs by banks to political parties or companies associated with parties, as well as to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).

Summoned to the session are the governor of the Central Bank, the auditor-general, the Registrar of Companies, and the CEOs or top managers of the following banks: Ancoria, Astrobank, Bank of Cyprus, Cyprus Popular Bank, Hellenic Bank, Housing Finance Corporation, RCB Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank Cyprus, National Bank of Greece and Kedipes.

It remains to be seen whether at the session the banks will be asked why – regarding the information on the non-performing loans of PEPs they had sent former Central Bank governor Chrystalla Georghadjithey had included individuals who now claim (some with documentation) that they are in fact not in arrears on their loans or credit cards.

It likewise remains to be seen which members of the House watchdog committee will declare a conflict of interest prior to the proceedings getting underway.  Some MPs are included on the contentious list of PEPs.

In a tweet meanwhile, Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides said though he has been summoned to the discussion, he won’t be attending.

This, he said, is because as attorney-general he is obligated to act as the president’s legal advisor.

Last week, a majority MPs voted in favour of publishing the list of PEPs with non-performing loans, prepared by Georghadji and delivered to the House President Demetris Syllouris back in April of 2019.

During last Friday’s plenary session, and following a tense debate on the list, a number of legislators walked out of the room so as not to vote.

But in a twist, the MPs also inserted a disclaimer, saying the final decision to publish rests with President Nicos Anastasiades – who is currently overseas.

Given that Anastasiades now has the final say on publication, and the attorney-general is the president’s legal advisor, Savvides cited this as the reason for not showing up at Thursday’s parliamentary discussion – presumably to avoid wearing two hats, as it were.

At any rate, once Anastasiades does get around to it, he may rubberstamp parliament’s decision to publish, veto it, and send it back to parliament, or refer it to the supreme court.

The PEP document – marked ‘confidential’ – includes data from six banks: Alpha, Eurobank, Hellenic, Bank of Cyprus, Kedipes and the Housing Finance Corporation. The data from five are dated December 31, 2018. Kedipes’ data are not dated.

MPs said the list was unreliable and incomplete. Others suggested ulterior motives on the part of the former central bank chief.

The dig was directed at Georghadji, hinting she had acted out of malice or at the least had done a shoddy job of preparing the data. Georghadji later dismissed this as a flimsy excuse, arguing that MPs had 17 months to ask for more details but never did.

 

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