Author: Elias Hazou
FURTHER signs emerged yesterday that Bank of Cyprus (BoC) has been reduced to a hapless hostage caught in crossfire between the government camp and the banking regulator.
A legislative proposal spearheaded by DISY envisages increasing the number of board members at the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) from five to seven, two of whom will act as executive directors.
The bill is co-sponsored by DISY’s Averof Neophytou, DIKO’s Nicholas Papadopoulos, the Greens’ George Perdikis and the European Party’s Demetris Syllouris.
The point of contention is a clause stipulating that, though final decisions rest with the governor of the CBC, the latter must have the consent of the board’s majority.
The bill, discussed yesterday at the House Finance Committee, struck a raw nerve with CBC officials arguing it would dilute the powers of the CBC chief and that it was possibly unconstitutional.
Weighing in, opposition AKEL charged… Continue reading
IT DID NOT take the leadership of the CyBC long to respond to the DISY plan to pass an amendment bill depriving the state broadcaster from carrying advertisements. Just a few hours after the new DISY leader Averof Neophytou spoke about the party’s intention, the chairman of the CyBC board Makis Symeou declared that if the corporation was deprived of advertising revenue it would not be able to carry out its mission.
General Manager Themis Themistocleous went a step further. He said advertising was taken in order to limit the state subsidy, but if it was stopped then the state subsidy would have to be increased. When you have been accustomed to leeching from the taxpayer for decades it is difficult to think of any other way to operate. Has it not occurred to Themistocleous that the shortfall from advertising revenue could be covered by cost-cutting, the method followed by… Continue reading
Author: Elias Hazou
LAWMAKERS were coerced into backing a rescue package for ailing Laiki Bank last May, European Party MP Demetris Syllouris said yesterday.
“Parliament was forced to vote for the €1.8bn,” Syllouris told a panel that is looking into the circumstances leading to the economy’s near-collapse.
In May 2012 parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of the state underwriting the issue of €1.8bn in new shares for Laiki to help it recapitalise from its exposure to toxic Greek debt.
A government bill had been rushed through the House plenum, leaving legislators little time to study it, Syllouris said.
MPs were then told to pass the bill “as is” on the same day – before the bank re-opened for business – or else Laiki would go under, taking the rest of the economy with it.
He and his colleagues were forced to go along, even though they lacked the information… Continue reading
A TEAM of troika technocrats arrived in Cyprus yesterday to monitor developments in the island’s financial sector.
The troika contacts will begin tomorrow with meetings with finance ministry officials, the Central Bank and management of commercial banks. The troika delegation departs on Saturday.
The technocrats are on an “interim mission” to screen developments in the local banking sector. It’s understood they will be looking at steps taken so far to recapitalise the island’s largest lender Bank of Cyprus through a haircut on deposits.
Cyprus has struck a deal with the troika to receive a €10bn bailout after bailing in bank uninsured deposits in a bid to recapitalise the island’s troubled banks.
The island’s second largest bank, Laiki, will be wound down and its good part (loans and deposits below €100,000) will be folded in Bank of Cyprus (BoC).
So far 37.5 per cent of uninsured deposits in BoC have been… Continue reading
Author: Poly Pantelides
THE BANK of Cyprus’ survival must be secured so that the economy and the financial sector can have a future despite the gloomy forecasts, the chairman of the employers and industrialists federation (OEV) said yesterday.
Speaking at OEV’s annual general meeting, Philios Zachariades said that the deterioration of economic indicators has been the most dramatic the island has known during a time of peace.
Cyprus’ GDP is expected to contract by 8.7 per cent this year. Borrowing rates for businesses and the price of electricity remain “prohibitively high,” Zachariades said while unemployment continues edging closer to an unprecedented 15 per cent, “testing the limits of society and the state”.
Cyprus must now set as a priority the restructuring of its financial system particularly of the Bank of Cyprus (BoC), Zachariades said. As part of the terms of Cyprus’s €10 billion bailout, the island’s biggest lender,… Continue reading
DISY LEADER Averof Neophytou yesterday raised the issue of removing the right to advertising from state broadcaster CyBC during discussion of its 2013 budget in the House Finance Committee.
Speaking before the committee, Neophytou said the ruling party plans to table a legal amendment removing the right of CyBC to sell advertising since it is a recipient of state grants. He gave as an example, the operation of the BBC.
By removing itself from the advertising world, the state broadcaster can get out of the race for viewers and instead focus on its main aim of producing TV programmes that promote Cyprus’ culture, regardless of ratings.
The state broadcaster is expected to earn around €4.5m this year in advertising sales, while receiving €27m from the state.
CyBC chairman Makis Symeou counter-argued that apart from the BBC, in the rest of Europe, state broadcasters are permitted to raise… Continue reading
Author: Stefanos Evripidou
INTERNAL STRIFE within the ruling National Unity Party (UBP) in the breakaway regime yesterday led to the announcement of early ‘parliamentary’ elections in the north.
According to reports, seven or eight UBP rebels led by Ahmet Kasif had planned with the Turkish Cypriot opposition to table a motion of censure in ‘parliament’, forcing Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Irsen Kucuk to resign. A provisional government would then have been set up until new elections could be held three months later at the end of September.
Trouble within the UBP has been brewing for some time with the party seemingly divided between the old guard, supporting former UBP head and current Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, and the new guard, who back the incumbent party head Kucuk.
Eroglu is fighting a battle for survival and relevance within the breakaway regime after having reportedly fallen out of favour… Continue reading
Author: Peter Stevenson
TWO POLICE vehicles and a shop window were damaged in Nicosia by APOEL fans on Saturday after the Anorthosis vs. APOEL match, police said.
According to reports, at around 7.20pm on Limassol Avenue in Nicosia, 30 APOEL fans with covered faces attacked officers by throwing rocks, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails at them while they were on duty in the area.
Two APOEL fans then allegedly threw a rock, breaking the windscreen of a patrol car and then threw an object which they had lit, into the car, setting it on fire.
The Fire Service was called to the scene but not before the car had been completely destroyed by the fire. The windscreen of a police bus and the glass door of a nearby shop were also damaged in the stone throwing.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said the police would be fully investigating the incidents and… Continue reading
Author: Poly Pantelides
THE MEMBERS of a new parole board were sworn in yesterday, 11 months after the previous board’s tenure expired, leaving dozens of convicts hanging because there was nobody to examine their applications.
Chairman and former judge Philippos Charalambous, and members Giorgos Demetriades, Evaggelos Anastasiou, Giorgos Mavrolefteros and Marios Argyrou were sworn in at the Presidential Palace in the presence of President Nicos Anastasiades.
“I can definitely say that this is a very delicate (task) because approving or rejecting any application for parole entails many social consequences not just for the imprisoned applicant and his family, but specifically (and) to a larger extent for our small society,” Charalambous said.
Back in November the justice ministry was forced to inform parliament they could find no replacements for the parole board whose previous members, citing other obligations, passed on another term.
The new board’s task will be to start… Continue reading
Author: Poly Pantelides
THREE institutions from abroad have displayed an interest in a proposal by semi-state companies (SGOs) to secure a €1.4 billion loan in order to avoid being privatised as part of Cyprus’ €10 billion bailout, the telecommunications company (CyTA) chairman said yesterday.
Stathis Kittis previously proposed that CyTA, the Electricity Authority (EAC), and the Ports Authority (CPA) could mortgage the SGOs’ property and come up with the same amount the troika said could be raised through privatisations.
Kittis told state broadcaster CyBC yesterday that three bodies – two hailing from the UK and one from the US – were interested in mulling the proposal. He did not name them and could not be reached to comment.
Kittis said impacted SGO boards would be meeting soon to evaluate the interest stemming from the foreign organisations “with the aim of turning this initial idea into action”.
“It would be… Continue reading