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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Financial crime without culprits and punishment in Cyprus

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Financial crime without culprits and punishment in Cyprus

Every scandal in Cyprus creates a Commission of Inquiry, but few have been imprisoned since 2000 or found guilty and paid the appropriate price. Whenever a major event shakes the economy and society, such as a stock market bubble, a banking bubble, real estate, a naturalization investment program, the Sun, Marie, Co-operation, Dromoxia scandal, the political solution to calm the spirits is to set up a Research Committee. Each story of the Research Committee has protagonists from the economic, political, business, banking, institutional life of the place and in the meeting rooms things and things are heard, about entanglements of persons, lack of control mechanism, handed over money under the table and of course “exploitation »Of the position of power that each person can have. Political and institutional responsibilities are assigned but so far.

Disappointingly, no one has been punished despite the fact that investigative files are stacked either in Parliament or in the Legal Service, despite the expectations expressed for the punishment of the guilty. So many years of research on investigations, setting up of research committees, endless hours of parliamentary sittings to hold those responsible for the stock market, financial and banking disaster accountable.

Recently, one more interest has been added to the history of research committees. It is the four-member committee for the control of naturalizations appointed by the Attorney General George Savvidis, appointing as chairman of the investigative committee the former president of the Supreme Court Myron Nikolatos. It will investigate whether all those in force at the time of submission of applications for naturalization, laws and decisions of the Ministry, criteria, procedures, terms and conditions, including the economic criteria, were correctly implemented. There is also a three-member commission of inquiry called by the Council of Ministers last November to review 26 cases for which a passport revocation process would be initiated. From the testimonies that have been made until, the comically tragic reality that characterizes our state, our life and our state emerges. “F” presents the greatest events of modern economic history and research, but without substantial punishment and satisfying the sense of common law.

First scandal

The two years 1999-2000 are a black spot in the events of the Cypriot economy. Many experts, taking advantage of the holes and weaknesses of the system, destroyed thousands of small and medium-sized families, most of which took several years to recover. The most tragic of all in history, of course, is the fact that no one was punished for the CSE scandal. Or if someone or some people were punished, they took her out almost clean and let us have MPs and other state officials in Cyprus who told us that they would resign if the CSE culprits are not imprisoned. The report was handed over to the Legal Service to take cases to court.

In 2004, at the beginning of the government of Tassos Papadopoulos, Greek experts on financial and stock market issues were invited to evaluate the findings of the investigation carried out by the Police, in relation to the 1999-2 stock market scandal.

The then Minister of Justice and Public Order, Doros Theodorou, in his statements stated that the experts will evaluate in the best way the data and findings arising from the investigative work of the Police and will record their own assessments, which they will present to the Minister of Justice. The members of the then Investigative Committee for the CSE requested and received from the then Minister of Finance, Maki Keravnos, a new fortnightly extension to complete the investigation, which had started 28 months ago and should have been completed by August 31, 2004. In attached and long list of names of legal entities and individuals, who made major stock transactions in the two years 1999-2000. The investigation was handed over to the then Minister of Finance, who in turn referred it to the Council of Ministers. At the same time, the investigation carried out by the House of Representatives in relation to the CSE scandal was also completed and handed over to the then President of the House, Dimitris Christofias. The punishments imposed for this major financial crime were not just painless, but caressing slaps. Nor did the Attorney General stand up to the circumstances of the stock market scandal.

Banking bubble

The story is repeated several years later, but with other protagonists. After the stock market bubble, twelve years later the banking bubble burst. The three most important committees set up to investigate the causes behind the financial crisis were decided by political institutions (one Committee was appointed by the government while the other was decided by Parliament) and one by an independent body (the Central Bank had appointed a committee). The Investigation Committee for the 2013 collapse appointed by the Council of Ministers consisted of former judges of the Supreme Court, chaired by George Pikis and members Panagiotis Kallis and Giannakis Konstantinidis, has all the powers of law to examine the issue of responsibility or liability on the situation of the banking system and the economy of the Republic of Cyprus in general. Although the Commission was unable to investigate all of them, it nevertheless investigated much and prepared a multi-page 179-page report, dated 23 September 2013, which it submitted to the Government and the Government to the investigating authorities to initiate investigations, investigations and bring the guilty to justice. No one was punished and as long as they were brought before the court they were acquitted. But people still remember. In 2013, the depositors of Laiki Bank lost about € 3.7 billion and the largest amount that will be returned to them when in the coming months it will be cleared that it remained from the former second largest bank in Cyprus, is only € 230 million. Deposits were cut around to € 7.8 billion, securities of € 1.4 billion were lost while the total loss to the economy is estimated to have exceeded € 40 billion.

The padlock of Cooperation

In July 2018, the three-member Research Committee for Cooperation took office. The former Judge of the Supreme Court, George Arestis, took over as Chairman of the Investigative Committee. It was heard that co-operative executives who were in the reins before 2013 and after 2013 will be brought to justice and responsibilities will be assigned. The report, which exceeds 800 pages, was published following a decision by former Attorney General Costas Clerides, who assured when he received the conclusion that it would not remain unused. In the aftermath of the conclusion of the Research Committee for the collapse of the Cooperation, a prominent place is occupied by the list of politically exposed persons, who maintained, at least until the summer of 2017, non-performing loans of almost € 130 million euros. Civil society is thirsty to know their names and to answer the relentless questions posed by the Research Committee for Cooperation, but also to punish the guilty.

Marie and the Sun, two tragedies that marked Cyprus

An investigative commission into the August 14 plane crash in the Grammatiko area that killed 121 people was appointed on May 24, 2006. It was tasked with investigating the “explosion that occurred on July 11 at the Evangelos Florakas Naval Base in Mari” , causing the death of 13 of our compatriots. Defense Minister Costas Papakostas was found guilty of manslaughter, with the court declaring that he “closed his eyes to the danger” regarding the safekeeping of explosives. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and died while serving his sentence, while the head of the National Guard Petros Tsalikidis faced the military court in Greece, after interstate agreements between Greece and Cyprus provided immunity to the Greek military. He was convicted of manslaughter for 7 years in prison, appealed and was released without restrictive measures.

Others called it the second greatest tragedy of the Cypriot Hellenism and others said that time stopped that black morning on August 14, 2005. The reason for the air tragedy of the Sun in which 121 people lost their lives and the whole of Cyprus was blackened. In Cyprus, by decision of the then Council of Ministers, an Investigative Committee was appointed under Judge Panagiotis Kallis to investigate the causes of the accident. In Cyprus and Greece, two simultaneous trials were held with charges of murder and causing death due to a reckless, reckless or dangerous act against five executives of the company “Helios”. The court in Cyprus ruled that the indictment “is unsubstantiated, since there is no evidence to link them to the tragedy”, acquitting the accused

Who finally ended up in the cell

In recent years, more and more scandals have come to light involving government officials and other dignitaries who have been forced to step down. Others simply ended up at home while some were found in the dock and then ended up in the cell. Who does not remember the Dromolaxia scandal and the heavy bells, the case of the former Assistant Attorney General Rikos Erotokritos. The conviction of the former Minister of Interior of Cyprus Dinos Michailidis and his co-accused for starting a bribe of Russian anti-aircraft systems TOR M1 under the ministry of Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Greece. The former mayor of Paphos, Savvas Vergas, and the general director of the Paphos Sewerage Council (SAPA), Eftychios Malikkidis, were sentenced to six years in prison for the much-praised SAPA case.

Source: www.philenews.com

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