‘BOCY 5’ plead not guilty
Five senior former executives at the Bank of Cyprus have pleaded not guilty to charges of misleading shareholders and the authorities over its grossly underestimated capital shortfall dating back to 2012 when the bank had bought toxic Greek government bonds.
EU leaders had agreed in November 2011 that the Greek bonds be written down, as a result of which investors lost billions. Among them were both Bank of Cyprus and now-defunct Laiki Popular Bank, that had been encouraged by the then government in Athens to buy these toxic bonds in an effort to prop up the Greek economy.
BOCY’s former chairmen Theodoros Aristodemou and Andreas Artemis, former CEOs Andreas Eliades and Yiannis Kypris, and former deputy CEO Yiannis Pehlivanides were formally charged after the court rejected their pre-trial objections, except one.
The court set a next hearing for June 2 but defence lawyers objected seeking to start the trial in September so that expert witnesses could have time to study the evidence.
Defence lawyers have also argued double jeopardy applied and sought a mistrial, as the defendants – with the exception of Artemis – had already been fined for the same offences by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).