Allegations over Central Bank send shock waves in political circles

Allegations over Central Bank send shock waves in political circles

Allegations made by a Member of the Central Bank of Cyprus` Board of Directors on Thursday before the House Ethics Committee have sent shock waves throughout Cypriot political circles and continue to reverberate.

The government has expressed grave concern and said such allegations should be investigated.

Central Bank Board of Directors Member Stelios Kiliaris told MPs yesterday during a meeting of the Ethics Committee that Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji had during a Board of Directors meeting spoken of a list of MPs with non performing loans and of an alleged `bribe` of Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou by Panayiotis Neocleous of the law firm Andreas Neocleous & Co.

Georghadji, who was also present at the meeting, replied that the allegation was “not true”. Kiliaris said he would submit his resignation first thing in the morning and that it would be irrevocable. He also said that he hadn`t seen the content of the list but that that the Central Bank Governor had shown it to Nicos Constantinou, another member of the Board.

In statements to the press in Limassol yesterday Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos expressed the government`s grave concern over developments and said that everything which has been either said or leaked should be investigated very carefully.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, currently attending an international conference in Egypt, will look into how to restore the reliability and credibility of the institutions, he pointed out.

Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou called on Friday for an independent inquiry into a number of allegations made by a Member of the Central Bank of Cyprus Board of Directors on Thursday before the Ethics Committee.

Erotokritou said that the inquiry should not involve members of the police or the Republic`s Law Office and should delve into everything said during the Ethics Committee on the previous day, the disarray in which the Central Bank of Cyprus seems to be in, the alleged blackmail of MPs and the continued possibility of a conflict of interest of the Central Bank Governor according to the Republic`s Auditor General.

House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou said that he had asked all MPs to submit to him their loans, according to the Parliament`s regulation. It was a decision agreed in an informal meeting of the leaders and representatives of parliamentary parties, he noted replying to journalists questions.

The Ethics Committee decided on Thursday to send the detailed minutes of its meeting to Attorney General Costas Clerides. MPs will decide on how to proceed on Tuesday in a closed doors meeting of the Committee.

On his part, Clerides issued a statement saying that after reviewing the content of the minutes he will decide as soon as possible on the next steps forward.

In a statement yesterday evening, Georghadji said that she will continue to serve the independent institution of the Central Bank in the interest of the country without any prejudice.

She further stated that she has “never questioned even in the slightest the integrity or honest of the Deputy Attorney General neither as regards the management of his personal affairs nor as regards his work as state official”.
She also expressed the Central Bank`s readiness to fully cooperate in ongoing police investigations under the Attorney General`s or the Deputy Attorney General`s supervision as regards the reasons which led the Cypriot economy and banking sector at the brink of collapse.

Most political parties have asked for Georghadji`s resignation apart from ruling Democratic Party which asked for an investigation to take place.

The law firm Andreas Neocleous & Co. has said in a press release that it will be filing a defamation suit against Georghadji.