Court case against ex-BoC of­fi­cials to be heard on Fri­day

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The hear­ing in a case against five for­mer ex­ec­u­tives of the Bank of Cyprus will take place on Fri­day when the de­fence will ar­gue that for a dis­missal, fol­low­ing a con­tin­u­ance al­lowed by a Ni­cosia court judge two weeks ago.

The bank’s for­mer chair­men Theodoros Aris­tode­mou and An­dreas Artemi, CEOs An­dreas Eli­ades and Yiannis Kypri, as well as Deputy CEO in charge of Greece, Yiannis Pehli­vanides, face charges of mar­ket abuse and con­spir­acy to de­ceive in­vestors as they failed to no­tify share­hold­ers that the bank’s cap­i­tal needs in 2012 had risen sig­nif­i­cantly more than the EUR 200 mln ini­tially an­nounced.

By the time the real pic­ture had been cal­cu­lated, the short­fall was es­ti­mated to have reached about EUR 700 mln, which, when com­bined with the write-down (hair­cut) of Greek gov­ern­ment bonds im­posed by EU lead­ers in Novem­ber 2012, sent the bank into a free-fall and un­able to sus­tain it­self or even by gov­ern­ment help.

As a re­sult, when now de­funct Laiki Popular Bank failed, also ex­posed to huge amounts of GGBs (prod­ded by the then Greek gov­ern­ment of Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou), Bank of Cyprus was un­able to carry the bur­den, Cyprus banks were forced to sac­ri­fice their Greek fran­chises and BoC was strad­dled with the EUR 11 bln emer­gency liq­uid­ity as­sis­tance (ELA) is­sued to Laiki.

In the on­go­ing trial, an ef­fort to find a scape­goat for both banks’ fail­ures which a public probe could not pin­point, de­fence coun­sel Polys Polyviou raised an is­sue de­cid­ing on due process prior to any ad­mis­si­ble facts be­ing heard first.

Polyviou speak­ing on be­half of the Bank of Cyprus had sug­gested ear­lier that the case started by ex­am­in­ing whether there had been an abuse of process. If the court rules that this is the case then it will be dis­missed or suspended, he said, adding that if it doesn’t then it will con­tinue. He fur­ther ex­pressed his readi­ness to present his ar­gu­ments.

As­size Court judge Lena Deme­tri­adou, who heads the three mem­ber panel, granted a post­pone­ment un­til March 27, say­ing that on the set date the Court will hear the par­ties’ ar­gu­ments re­gard­less of whether there is agree­ment on the ad­mis­si­ble facts.

Polyviou added that it is his opin­ion there aren’t many ad­mis­si­ble facts re­fer­ring in par­tic­u­lar to a de­ci­sion by the Cyprus Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, the ap­peal or ap­peals be­fore the Supreme Court against that de­ci­sion and the present in­dict­ment.

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