Daily Archives: April 5, 2013

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NEW Cyprus Airways in talks with potential investor

A Chinese company is interested in buying ailing national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY), it was announced Friday.

In a statement to investors, CY said officials from Beijing Yi Xiang Da Investment Co Ltd held talks with finance ministry and airline officials.

Signs for a conclusion appear to be encouraging, the airline said, but there has not been an agreement yet.

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Draghi: Cyprus to blame for turmoil

 

THE EUROPEAN Central Bank yesterday put the blame for initial market turmoil over Cyprus’ bailout squarely on the government, and pledged that taxing depositors would not become normal procedure.

ECB President Mario Draghi said Cyprus’ bailout was “no template”, a statement designed to ease market fears that bank deposits would in future be fair game for international lenders seeking to help struggling eurozone countries.

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Our View: Bank employees union still calling the shots

BANK EMPLOYEES quit work at noon yesterday so they could take part in a demonstration, organised by their union ETYK which demands that bank provident funds were fully protected and bank jobs secured. The unions have not lost their arrogance, despite the collapse of the economy. Unions of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus have demanded that their provident fund deposits in Laiki, worth €27 million and those in the Bank of Cyprus (€15 million) were saved by the state.

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‘Mass deletion of data’ on former BoC execs’ computers

DELETION of data allegedly took place on computers belonging to senior Bank of Cyprus (BoC) executives, according to the leaked findings of a probe into the circumstances that forced the island’s biggest lenders to seek state assistance.

Alvarez and Marsal, the firm tasked with investigating why Bank of Cyprus and Laiki sought state assistance, said the information provided by BoC was incomplete and data deleting software were found on the computers of two senior executives.

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‘Central Bank could not have stopped Laiki merger’

THE Central Bank of Cyprus could not do much, under the current legal and regulatory framework, to stop the cross-border merger between Laiki and Greece’s Marfin Egnatia that effectively led to the former’s downfall, an investigation has found.

“The structure of the regulation and legislation is such that under the Mergers Directive the bank did not require any authorisation from the CBC (Central Bank of Cyprus), this resulted in the bank being able to transfer the assets and liabilities to Cyprus without approval from the CBC,” a findings report said.

The CBC was left with one option, the firm said, either to accept the conversion of the Greek subsidiary or force the bank to cease operations in Greece.

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‘No good reason for BoC’s high number of Greek bonds’

A PROBE into the acquisition by Bank of Cyprus (BoC) of €2.4 billion worth of Greek debt found that there was no clear justification or rationale for the decision to accumulate such a high number of bonds, ultimately forcing the lender to seek state assistance.

Global forensic and dispute services provider Alvarez and Marsal said BoC documents did not clearly specify the rationale of acquiring such a large amount, which later caused heavy losses due to the EU decision to write-down Greek debt (GGB).

In its report, the firm said that despite the lack of formal documentation, it appeared that the decision had been driven by the management’s desire to deliver net income interest and profit growth.

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Land deal turn sour for Kykkos

THE MONASTERY of Kykkos has secured a court injunction blocking the sale of a plot of land in Nicosia that was offered to the Greek government more than 10 years ago.

In 1998 the monastery – one of the wealthiest dioceses in Cyprus – struck a deal with the Greek government, under which the former would donate four acres on condition that an embassy was built at the location.

However the acreage was deemed not to be large enough, because the Greek government also planned to build the ambassador’s residence on the same site. An agreement was therefore made where the monastery would donate the original four acres and sell four more acres for €500,000.

The land in question sits in prime real estate across the Kykkos Metochi, near the Russian and US embassies.

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Sarris: bailout terms ‘seismic assault’ on economy

CYPRUS should brace itself for an extended period of difficulty in the near term after sealing a bailout deal forcing it to forgo much of its banking sector, the former finance minister said.

Michalis Sarris, who stepped down as finance minister just five weeks into the job on Tuesday, said in an interview that Cyprus had made mistakes, but said lenders and European Union partners had treated Cyprus unfairly.

“Clearly… mistakes were made, there was excessive growth in bank credit, in government spending. But I don’t think it needed to come to this. “I think this could have been corrected without this really seismic assault on the Cyprus economy,” he said.

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Bank staff fear for their future

 

BANK staff across Cyprus held a two-hour strike from 12.30pm until 2.30pm yesterday before marching on Parliament from their union ETYK’s headquarters as part of a protest to protect their pension funds and jobs.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the House around 4pm chanting: ‘Provident Funds belong to our children’ and ‘Get your hands off our provident funds and our jobs’. Banners saying: ‘You are murdering our future and our dreams’ and ‘Years of hard work are being given a haircut’ were carried by angry demonstrators. 

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