Nicosia criminal court on Thursday acquitted all defendants from charges of fraud in the case of loans secured from the Strovolos cooperative bank.

In its ruling, the court said that whereas it acknowledged unethical practices by bank officials in securing the loans, it was not presented with hard evidence proving fraud.

Former Central Co-op Bank boss Erotokritos Chlorakiotis, former Strovolos Co-op boss Demetrakis Stavrou, and former co-op development commissioner Constantinos Lyras were facing charges relating to conspiracy to defraud, obtaining goods under false pretences, unlawful acquisition of property, and money laundering.

The indictment also included Maria Chlorakiotou, Carolina Angelopoulou, Maria Chrysanthou, Giorgos Mavreas, Detiero Enterprises, CHL Enterprises, and Ktimatiki Kotrona Ltd.

According to the charge sheet, between May and July 2007 the defendants conspired to defraud by securing illegal loans worth CYP2.1m (€3.6m) from the Strovolos co-op.

The defendants were also alleged to have failed to disclose the real reason for a €119,602 loan and the beneficiary. They also allegedly provided false information, including the values of two properties used as collateral, to secure CYP2m (around €3.4m) from the same bank.

They had also been accused of forging the minutes of the bank’s managing committee to show that it had approved a CYP200,000 (€341,720) loan to Detiero Enterprises.