After 7 years and while millions have been lost from the value of the assets left by Laiki Bank, it is on the way to the liquidation process. The Central Bank, as a Resolution Authority, has submitted to the court an application for the appointment of a liquidator of Laiki on January 8, 2021, as the Governor of the Central Bank Konstantinos Herodotou stated yesterday in Parliament, closing the management cycle that began in 2013.
The issue was discussed yesterday by the parliamentary committee on Finance, following the registration of the issue by the chairwoman of the Committee and DIKO MP Christiana Erotokritou. The governor added that the matter now depends on the Court when the liquidation process will begin. As he said, the application, which is very voluminous based on the file he presented to the committee, includes a suggestion for the appointment of the liquidator, since the selection process of the liquidator, whom he did not name, was completed in June 2020. He noted that now procedure depends on the Court.
Nine in a row are Laiki's creditors who will have to be reimbursed from € 232 million. The issue is how many they will manage to get and how much they are entitled to. Depositors are sixth in line for compensation and have lost close to € 4 billion. The property is distributed in the order of priority provided by law: Debts to the state and town halls, debts to semi-governmental organizations and providers of services and goods, associates, holders of letters of guarantee of the Bank, depositors, bondholders, holders of securities. Both from the current legislation in Cyprus and from the international legislation and jurisprudence, that the Administrator manages the property of the Organization and does not distribute it by undressing the Organization while it is the liquidator who distributes the property to the creditors at the end of the liquidation according to order of priority provided by the Legislation and any distribution of property with preferential treatment of a group of creditors is considered invalid according to the Legislation (preferential payment / treatment).
Mr. Herodotou said that the way to submit an application for Laiki to be liquidated was the completion of the sale of Laiki's subsidiaries in Greece, which took place in July 2019. As he said, the available assets of the former Laiki amount to the end of September 2020 to € 232 million, including € 140 million received from the sales of the assets of the former Laiki so far, compared to € 663 million based on a valuation made in 2013 by KMPG, but also € 800 million which was the valuation of the assets made by the Association of Laiki Depositors (SYKALA).
Mr. Herodotus pointed out that following legal advice, care must be taken due to the ongoing proceedings before the court. “The goal is to go to liquidation to get as many depositors as possible, which is my goal personally as well as the Resolution Authority,” he said. He said that the Central tried to announce a tender for the assets of the former Laiki, through which a liquidation process would have been avoided, but this was not possible, as the proposals were not profitable. “Asked about the positions of the former Administrator, Chris Pavlou, that the shares in Bank of Cyprus should not have been sold, Mr. Herodotou wondered in what capacity does he have this opinion? “When he was in charge, did he submit a specific proposal to the Reorganization Authority with this view?” he wondered. He also said that the Resolution Authority does not direct the special administrator, but approves the amount needed for the consultants and when it makes the sale issues the decree for the sale.
Depositors want the shares they HAVE LEFT
At yesterday's meeting, the president of SYKALA, Adonis Papakonstantinou stated that the most stable course from 2013 until today was the gradual reduction of Laiki's assets, which started from a very high number. “We estimated at € 900 million but today we are talking about this amount is around € 230 million,” he said. He demanded that the remaining shares in Bank of Cyprus be distributed to Laiki's creditors instead of being sold and that everyone choose what to do with these shares. Commenting on the decision to sell 50% of the shares that Laiki held in Bank of Cyprus and the desire of the creditors to distribute the remaining shares, Mr. Herodotou said that no one can predict the price of the share and that afterwards it seems that the decision was correct since the course of the share was downward. He added that if the remaining shares are immediately liquid, the liquidator will decide whether to sell them or distribute them. Mr. Papakonstantinou lashed out at the former governor, saying that Laiki's subsidiary investment bank in Greece (IBG), which was a good bank, could be saved and its maintenance could maximize Laiki's assets. The answer we received from the then commander Chrystalla Giorkatzi was “who told you that the mandate is to maximize the value, the mandate is to sell us”, he said before the Commission.