WRITERS: MANOLIS KALATZIS, DIMITRIS STRATIS
The publication of the Giorkatzi list by decision of the plenary of the Parliament created more questions than answers. The list of names and companies that took loans, which at some point until the end of 2018 appeared as non-performing, can not give a clear picture of which politically exposed persons may have been suspected of favorable treatment, or are “bad payers” .
The list includes many people, who are widely unknown and it is not clear why they are considered politically exposed. In many cases there is no information as to whether they are first borrowers or loan guarantors or even whether the amounts owed to them are debts, loans, or credit card balances or are covered by adequate guarantees.
In many cases a politically exposed person appears as a debtor, either in his personal capacity or as a shareholder in a company, or as a related person to his wife or children. Obviously, drawing conclusions about the type of debt would be risky since the relevant data are not provided to clarify the relationship between the RDP and the loan.
Other cases involve debts of individuals who have died or companies that do not exist or are in liquidation. And in this case, no safe conclusions can be drawn, when in fact the banking institutions do not provide evidence of restructuring that has taken place or of debtors refusing to pay because they dispute the charges.
Even before the list was published and after its publication on the Parliament's website, there were many objections to the accuracy of the data, as several politically exposed persons stated that the data concerning them did not correspond to reality. One of the major disputes concerned the updating of the data as, when the list was compiled, some loans may have been non-performing and subsequently serviced, or consultations were underway with the banks for restructuring.
The Commissioner for Personal Data Protection, Irini Loizidou-Nikolaidou, did not want to comment at this stage, saying that each case has its own characteristics. He revealed that he has received phone calls from people on the list who have expressed their intention to file a complaint. However, until yesterday, no relevant complaints had been submitted. Ms. Loizidou admitted that serious issues of personal data are raised as it should be clarified who is responsible for processing the list and who should destroy it since there is a question of legality. He reiterated that the public interest takes precedence over personal data. Some of the issues that arise and concern legislation other than personal data are issues that the Attorney General may be called upon to consider. However, it should be noted that the MPs who voted in favor of the disclosure also acknowledged that the House may enter into legal adventures, although its members are covered by immunity.
Rain the clarifications
Most of the names of active political figures included in Giorkatzi's infamous list were almost known, as all the previous time due to the extent of the issue, they gave their own explanations by publishing their financial data. The strongest reaction came from DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias, who raised the issue of legality for publication, citing relevant laws contained in national and EU law. Also, the representative of the Maronites in the Parliament, G. Mousas, was the MP who had warned with legal measures in case of its publication.
In a statement last July, DISY MP Andreas Kyprianou expressed his surprise by claiming that one loan, with a balance of 44 thousand euros, is not his, attributing his inclusion in the list to a synonym. For a second loan, Mr. Kyprianou claimed that there is no overdue installment.
DISY MP Zacharias Zachariou publicly assured that his loan worth 60 thousand euros concluded in 2016, is serviced and that the balance is 12 thousand euros, adding that he has prepaid installments until 2024 and the loan expires in 2026.
The Famagusta MP of DISY, George Georgiou had stated last July in Parliament that the loan of 120 thousand euros has been repaid, that it was fully serviced and refers to his statement for Pothen Esches. Submit a certificate and exact copies of invoices for the payment of installments.
DISY MP Costas Konstantinou stated last summer in Parliament that he and his family had taken out a loan of a few hundred thousand pounds for which nothing was given to him, while additional charges were imposed. He wondered what the initial targeting of specific MPs was.
Answers for the inclusion of her name in the list of Giorkatzi were given many months ago by AKEL MP Skevi Koukouma, who clarified that this is an agricultural loan of her late father, which is registered in the declaration for Pothen Esches and is worth 310 thousand euros. secured. A report by the Financial Commissioner documents that illegal over-indebtedness of 162 thousand euros was imposed on the loan. At the same time, the commissioner referred the case to the attorney general to consider whether over-indebtedness constitutes a criminal offense.
AKEL MP Aristos Damianou clarified that his inclusion in the Giorkatzi list is something wrong. The list includes a really non-performing loan, but with which, as he states, it has nothing to do as it concerns a loan of a legal entity owned by former colleagues of lawyers, foreign to him since 2013, who personally assumed their full responsibility as first debtors – with the knowledge of the credit institution – and acquitted him in writing of any liability as a guarantor. The other – direct or indirect – reports on his person concern small amounts for card and account with a limit that were issued long before he was elected MP, in 2007-8 and have long since closed as paid.
The party's MP Costas Costa claims that it was found that he is on the list for the total amount of 1,292 euros and 91 cents, which concerns excesses on two credit cards.
The name of AKEL MEP, George Georgiou, was included in Giorkatzi's list for a “fully serviced” loan, as he himself stated.
All the loan obligations of the Giovani group that are mentioned in the Giorkatzi list, are repaid in accordance with the regulations of the banks and are served consistently, said in a written statement last July the former AKEL MP Christakis Tziovanis. He notes that the loan agreements and arrangements of the group companies have never received any favorable treatment from banking institutions.
DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou mentioned for the inclusion of her name in the list of MES of the Bank of Cyprus (for a balance of 3,611 euros) that she has never had or still has MES. He even published a certificate from the Bank of Cyprus.
The parliamentary representative of DIKO, Panikos Leonidou, expressed surprise for the inclusion of his name in the list, publishing a relevant certificate of the bank that seems to be paid uninterruptedly all the installments throughout the duration of the loan.
DIKO MP Zacharias Koulias, who was the only one who opposed the publication of the list during the vote in the Parliament, characterized the action as illegal, noting that the Parliament is entering important adventures. If today, he added, it has MES, it is due to the over-indebtedness of the banks and the practices of those that led the country to bankruptcy, while he said that for the excessive favor to the banks, apart from the state, the Parliament also has responsibilities with the laws it enacted.
The President of EDEK Marinos Sizopoulos in his statements from the Plenary Session regarding his inclusion in the list stated that there is no justification for a senior executive of the Central Committee, or office or other staff, not to be able to understand the difference between a non- a serviced loan and the debit balance of a credit card as was the case with his own.
“I was surprised to see my name included in the list of Giorkatzi, for the loan, which I have with my wife and which I state categorically that it was never non-performing,” EDEK MP Elias hastened to clarify with an announcement last July. Μυριάνθους.
EDEK MP Kostis Efstathiou from the floor of Parliament clarified that he is mentioned in the list since he was a co-borrower in a loan that belonged to a close relative in 2015 and was not served. However, he said, the loan was repaid in full today with the sale of real estate and cash.
The president of the Ecologists' Movement, Charalambos Theopemptou, expressed surprise for his inclusion in the famous Giorkatzi list. As he mentioned last July, this is a confusion with a loan of his dying wife, in which he was a guarantor. The loan was accompanied by life insurance, however, the sale of the Co-operation caused difficulties in securing the balance after the death of his wife.
Former MP George Papadopoulos in an announcement last July, explained that one of the companies, in which he is a shareholder is included in the list Giorkatzi. He presented an official letter from a bank that this company does not have a non-performing loan.
“I have never had and still do not have non-performing loans,” Energy Minister Natasa Pileidou told “P”. The company to which the list refers belonged to my late grandfather, who had transferred a number of shares to me. “I have never been actively involved in this business, nor did I know anything about its loans, or I have any involvement as a first debtor or guarantor of these loans”, he adds.
According to a post by the Minister of Transport, Giannis Karousou, he was informed by a journalist about the inclusion of his name, however he does not know details. He categorically stated that there is no loan from a credit institution to him.
Former Minister of Health George Pamporidis, whose name also appears on the list of Giorkatzi, wrote in a twitter post: “As the wise people say, a clear sky, lightning (or controls) is not afraid.” He refers to a statement in which he states “clearly that my company loan has never become non-performing and I express my astonishment for the inclusion of my name in this situation. I also want to state that, despite the difficult times we are all going through, not a single installment of this loan was left unpaid “.
The ambassador in Athens
The ambassador of Cyprus in Athens, Kyriakos Kenevezos, made public a few days ago the bank loans that he maintains, noting that those who are in public life and especially in positions of responsibility, must serve the principle of transparency.
“Those in public life, especially in positions of responsibility, must serve and protect the principle of transparency without compromise,” he said in a statement, adding that “in view of the general debate on public figures' financial data, and because we are all accountable to the citizens “, I publish my exact, real and up-to-date relationship with the banking institutions, with the last reference date of 30/11/2020.
The president of the Hellenic Capital Market Commission
Her family loans that appear on the Giorkatzi list were serviced during the period under review, Dimitra Kalogirou, chairwoman of the Hellenic Capital Market Commission and member of the research committee of exceptional naturalizations of foreign investors and businessmen, told KYPE. More specifically, Ms. Kalogirou said that “one loan has already been repaid and the other continues to be serviced normally”.
Anyone who does not want to go to the mill… sieves for two years
The list of names and the hundreds, if not thousands, of numbers did not shed the slightest light on the key question that was the “inappropriate” policy relationship with the banks. They were hung on the pegs, fair and unjust, so that no one could distinguish who and how were favored with loan write-offs or impairments. However, a large part of this fiasco is borne by the Parliament, which for years with mastermind Dimitris Syllouris played table tennis with the governor of the CBC, bringing the list, without responsibility of Mr. Herodotus. Although everyone knew it was a foot job, no one asked for this list to be cleared up so that those who really took advantage of their position to get rid of loans could be revealed.