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Final decision on PEPs list expected in two weeks

Adamou
House president Adamos Adamou

The protracted saga of whether or not to publish the so-called Giorghadji list of non-performing loans of politically exposed persons (PEP) could come to an end during the House plenum in 15 days when a final decision is expected.

Publication of the list has caused a multitude of controversies including threats of lawsuits from certain MPs.

The PEP list was first delivered to ex-House president Demetris Syllouris by former Central Bank boss Chrystalla Giorghadji in April of 2019 just before she stepped down. The dossier concerns PEPs and the money they owed banks, including bad debts. Syllouris returned it to the new Central Bank governor, Constantinos Herodotou, and the matter has been going back and forth ever since.

On Wednesday it was back on the table at the House ad hoc committee set up to examine the issue, which was attended by House president Adamos Adamou. He said after the meeting that all parties at the committee were in favour of the matter being resubmitted to the plenum. He also said the parties were in favour of publication including main opposition Akel.

“The proposal for publication goes to the plenary for a re-vote in fifteen days and from the moment it is approved then it will be made public,” Adamou said.

In order to publish the list, parliament must first pass a relevant resolution requiring a majority of votes from MPs present.

As House president, Adamou could release the dossier on his own initiative – without a parliamentary resolution – but that would leave him personally liable to civil lawsuits.

Adamou said the ad hoc committee would not end with the PEP list as there were other open issues such as MPs who don’t have an income tax file. MPs heard that there were at least five deputies without a tax file.

Adamou also expressed his intention to assign an independent committee of lawyers or auditors to conduct an independent audit on such issues, as “members of parliament cannot decide on matters concerning parliament”, he added.

The House president also addressed the threats from certain MPs to sue if the PEP list is published, saying he would make public the letters he received from a member of parliament and another state official warning him of lawsuits for breaches of personal data. The official, Adamou said, informed him that his debts had been settled and he should be removed from the list.

As far as MPs were concerned, Akel’s Stefanos Stefanou said the list was “sketchy, incomplete and wrong” but overall the party was in favour of publishing. He also called on parliament to put the same pressure for transparency on the executive especially when it came to the citizenship by investment scheme.

Solidarity MP Michalis Giorgallas also spoke in favour of publication, saying there was no choice. The Greens Giorgos Perdikis said the same. “I think we are forced to continue not to send the message to society that we have deliberately covered things up,” he said.

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