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Vgenopoulos sees conspiracy against Laiki, Cyprus Bank remains the government’s pet

27 March 2013 / 01:03:25  GRReporter
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"The destruction of Laiki Bank in order to once again protect the interests hiding behind Cyprus Bank is a huge mistake, the enormity of which will seriously hurt the Cypriot economy and society," as stated by the former owner of MARFIN POPULAR BANK Andreas Vgenopoulos in an open address. A little over a year and a half ago, he sold his bank, now known as Laiki Bank, to Cyprus and today, he is protesting against the accusations that its management had given rise to the beginning of the end of the financial institution. He is talking about conspiracy and protecting the interests in favour of the competitive Cyprus, but is not going into details about the nature of the possible "conspiracy" against Laiki. Vgenopoulos insists that the bank was in excellent condition when he sold it and that its current poor condition is the result of government mismanagement.
Laiki Bank’s Executive Director Marios Hatziyiannakis is of quite different opinion to Andreas Vgenopoulos. He insists before Mega TV that the loans of the bank in Greece seriously exceeded the deposits and that the former management of the financial institution had generously lent. Moreover, during the period of deep crisis, when everyone was trying to get rid of Greek government bonds, Marfin was buying devalued securities en masse. The Bank granted a loan of 175,000 euro to the Vatopedi monastery and according to Hatziyiannakis, a lot of money had been irrevocably lost or cancelled. The issue is expected to be discussed at a special meeting of the Cypriot Parliament, which has ordered an investigation of the causes of the banking crisis.

Meanwhile, Andreas Artemis, the head of Cyprus Bank, which is the second largest bank in Cyprus, has resigned. According to official information, Artemis has left his post because he does not agree with the government plan to rescue the banking system. He believes that the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have completely ignored the opinion of the Management Board of the financial institution. Artemis does not approve the merger of Cyprus Bank and Laiki and that it should assume Laiki’s debts amounting to 9.2 billion euro.

The Central Bank of Cyprus has announced that Dinos Christofidis will take his place. Chrisotifidis will be appointed special governor of the bank in charge of the implementation of the recovery programme. Andri Antoniadou will take the same position in Laiki Bank and she will be responsible for the reform process of the largest financial institution.

Despite Andreas Artemis’ request, the Management Board has not accepted his resignation. According to an official message cited by To Vima, the regulations of the bank suggest that employees’ resignations will be accepted only if they are not withdrawn within a period of one week.

In Greece, Piraeus Bank has officially acquired the branches of Cyprus Bank, Cyprus Popular Bank (Laiki) and Hellenic Bank. The information indicates that the transaction is worth 524 million euro. The Finance Ministry in Athens has confirmed the signing of the deal and firmly stated that the deposits in the branches are fully guaranteed. They will not be cut which is expected to happen in Cyprus. Following the recent mergers, Piraeus Bank has acquired assets totalling 95 billion euro; it has a total of 1,660 representations and 24,000 employees. According to official information, the banks in Greece will start working and open to customers
from Wednesday, March 27, onwards.

The turmoil and uncertainty connected with the Cypriot financial crisis have caused problems in the financial market for another day in a row. The main index of the Athens Stock Exchange closed on Tuesday at 884.94 basis points with losses of -4.9% as reported by Naftemporiki. The total value of transactions reached 79.3 million euro, the index of high capitalization lost -5.3% and that of average capitalization lost -4%. The financial services ended with a decline of -10.2% in total and the loss suffered by telecommunications was -9.3%. The banking market index recorded lower losses and ended with a negative result of -1.8%.


Tags: EconomyMarketsVgenopoulosCyprusCrisisBanks
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