CYPRUS: Court case against ex-BoC officials postponed to March 27.
A Nicosia court judge has allowed the continuance in the hearing in a case against five former executives of the Bank of Cyprus to next week, when the defence will argue that for a dismissal.
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 e1/4200 mln initially announced.
By the time the real picture had been calculated, the shortfall was estimated to have reached about e1/4700 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 e1/411 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, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
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.
The other defence lawyers did not raise any objection to the postponement, neither did prosecutor Paulina Efthyvoulou who said, however, that she would need at least a day to prepare including to look into the matter of the admissible facts.
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|Publication:||Financial Mirror (Cyprus)|
|Date:||Mar 19, 2015|
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