Cyprus Mail

PEP probe still stuck in second gear

An ad hoc parliamentary committee looking into bank loans made to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) was on Monday still stuck in second gear, sorting out the precise parameters of its investigation.

House Speaker Demetris Syllouris told MPs that on Tuesday he would be addressing another letter to the banks, asking them to confirm previous data and also apprising them of the committee’s intent to request further data in the near future.

Syllouris, chairing the special committee, also asked lawmakers to submit questions in writing regarding the names of the PEPs they propose be included in the parliamentary probe.

These individuals might then be added to the 162 names cited in a document earlier shared with MPs.

MPs must also prepare follow-up questions on information already given to the committee.

The committee is still calibrating the scope of its probe, although earlier this month Syllouris did say they would be asking the auditor-general, the central bank and the financial ombudsman to find out whether any PEPs had received favourable treatment with their loans.

Syllouris had also said they would request that the auditor-general inform them about any investigations into the financial system and whether he’d be examining the legitimacy of a list that contains the names of PEPs with bad debts and which the former central bank governor had given parliament.

The list was prepared by former Central Bank chief Chrystalla Georghadji and delivered to Syllouris in April 2019.

It was returned to the central bank and then back to parliament, which set up an ad hoc committee to decide whether to publish it. Parliament voted to publish it but then didn’t citing personal data laws.

The special committee plans to investigate whether any PEPs had received preferential treatment in their dealing with banks, including loans on better terms, debt write-offs, debt for asset swaps, and so on. The panel will also look into whether any PEPs were involved with banks, especially sitting MPs.


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