Daily Archives: April 11, 2013

Archives April 11, 2013 posted by

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Archives April 11, 2013 posted by

Cyprus could sell gold reserves

 

CYPRUS has agreed to sell excess gold reserves to raise around €400 million to help finance part of its bailout, according to an assessment of the island’s financing needs prepared by the European Commission, revealed yesterday. 

The draft assessment, referring to the gold sale, obtained by Reuters, also said that Cyprus would raise €10.6 billion from the winding down of Laiki Bank and the losses imposed on junior bondholders and the deposit-for-equity swap for uninsured deposits in the Bank of Cyprus.

Nicosia would get a further €600 million over three years from raising the corporate income tax rate and the capital gains tax rate.

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Our View: The AG and the complete inversion of all logic

ON SUNDAY a Greek newspaper carried a report that Attorney-general Petros Clerides had suspended prosecution for driving offences against his son. 

Clerides, declined to comment until Monday night on a television current affairs show where although he was not specific about the reported offences – drink driving and not having an MOT – he did confirm that an offence had taken place and that he had suspended prosecution.

Article 113 of the constitution grants the Attorney-general or members of his office acting on his instructions the right to suspend any prosecution against anyone in Cyprus “exercisable at (the AG’s) discretion in the public interest”.

While no one is saying the AG acted illegally, his reasoning is however flawed. 

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‘Senior officials ordered early haircut law draft’

THE Presidential Palace insisted yesterday that President Nicos Anastasiades had not been aware of instructions to draft legislation regarding a ‘haircut’ on deposits before the decision was actually announced by the Eurogroup.

In a statement yesterday, the Palace also suggested that the previous administration knew about a possible haircut, at least since November last year, pointing to a reference in the preliminary bailout deal agreed by former president Demetris Christofias.

The matter came to the fore on Monday evening, after Attorney-general Petros Clerides revealed he received instructions from the finance ministry on the morning of March 15 to prepare a bill concerning a haircut on deposits.

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House looks into CBC chief’s role

THE HOUSE Ethics Committee will look into whether parliament was misled by the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC) governor over the terms of reference of an investigation he launched into the island’s banking debacle.

House President Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday if the committee finds there is a case, it will draft a report and send it to the plenum for discussion behind closed doors.

If the plenum judges there is an issue of misconduct through disciplinary or criminal offences, the case will either be referred to the attorney-general, or a parliamentary investigating committee will be set up, Omirou said.

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Central bank issues reprieve for bounced cheques

UNTIL capital controls become more relaxed and the banking situation returns to normal, the Central Bank has decided not to blacklist anyone whose cheques may have bounced recently.

“During these difficult times, the Central Bank has informed the Central Information Archive to suspend operation,” Central Bank spokesperson, Aliki Stylianou said. She added this meant that anyone whose cheque may have bounced recently would not be blacklisted. 

Stylianou said the measure would remain in place until things returned to normal and was aimed at helping those who might have unwittingly had their cheques bounce. The problem with the cheques materialised with bank closures last month.

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Cabinet freezes rents for two years

THE CABINET yesterday decided to freeze controlled rents for the next two years in light of the deteriorating economic situation in Cyprus. 

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said the decision to block rent increases from April 22, 2013 until April 21, 2015 for “controlled areas”, was taken as a result of the impact of the economic crisis, particularly on small and medium-sized businesses who rent property, shops or offices. 

Under Cypriot rent laws, landlords can increase rents by a maximum of 14 per cent every two years. 

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Cabinet decides to keep CY for summer at least

THE government yesterday decided to keep national carrier Cyprus Airways (CY) flying, at least throughout the summer, but measures to restructure the company must be fully accepted by staff.

“This is a crucial condition,” government spokesman Christos Stylianides said after a cabinet meeting yesterday. “Keeping the company alive with the aim of selling it to a strategic investor is based on the responsible stance of all those involved.”

The measures include cutting staff by 560 immediately, a 17 per cent cut in salaries and reducing the fleet to six aircraft from 10.

Unions said the provident fund of those being laid off was not secured and there was no gratuitous compensation.

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CY employees protest at palace

AROUND 300 Cyprus Airways employees protested outside the Presidential Palace yesterday at the same time that the cabinet was meeting to discuss the national carrier’s future.

The employees asked for the government’s support to prevent the airline from closing and for them to take an immediate political decision.

Employee representatives entered the Presidential Palace and met with head of the President’s office, Panayiotis Antoniou, and also spoke with Communications and Works Minister Tasos Mitsopoulos before he entered the cabinet meeting. 

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