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Cyprus

MPs vote to publish PEP list (Updated)

ÏËÏÌÅËÅÉÁ ÂÏÕËÇÓ – ÊÑÁÔÉÊÏÓ ÐÑÏÛÐÏËÏÃÉÓÌÏÓ 2021
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Lawmakers on Thursday passed a resolution authorising the House President to make public a much-awaited list of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) with bad loans.

The resolution passed with a majority, with 47 MPs voting for and one – Diko’s Zacharias Koulias – voting against.

Socialist Edek abstained.

The list will be published on Friday on the parliament’s website as part of the transcript of the House plenary session.

Copies of the list were to be distributed to MPs after the vote, but ruling Disy, Diko and Solidarity declined to receive one. It’s understood their move was related to widespread rumours that the list would be leaked to the media overnight, prior to its official publication.

Under the parliamentary resolution, the list will be published ‘as is’, as it had been submitted by former Central Bank governor Chrystalla Georghadji to then-House President Demetris Syllouris back in April 2019.

No data on that list will be deleted or amended, even though the data may now be outdated.

Speaking on behalf of his party, Disy leader Averof Neophytou said only that the list would be “judged by society.”

In his own remarks before the vote, Akel head Andros Kyprianou said the dossier contains information that was poorly processed at the time, while in some cases the data are outright incorrect, which therefore might be taken out of context and as a result end up casting unfair aspersions on some people.

Regardless, he said, his party voted in favour of disclosure, lifting the “dark shadow” hanging over parliament itself, which for months had gone back and forth on whether to publish the list.

On the other hand, said Kyprianou, the dossier contains no information on preferential loans given to PEPs nor anything relating to the controversial passport scheme.

He said thousands of names would come out, so that the public will “wonder why these names are on the list at all.

“There is a risk of distracting from the real graft and corruption in Cyprus.”

In a similar vein, Diko boss Nicholas Papadopoulos said that while disclosure will put paid to any allegations of a cover-up by parliament, the list also includes innocent information – credit card balances and performing loans.

But anyone appearing on the list would be considered guilty by association, he cautioned.

The dossier also lists individuals who were not PEPs at the time in question.

On President Nicos Anastasiades’ address to the nation on Thursday evening concerning the citizenship-by-investment programme, Papadopoulos commented that the president did this in order to avoid holding a news conference where he’d have to take questions.

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