Court Clears Two Former Bank of Cyprus Officials of Market Manipulation

FILE - An elderly man eats a fruit as a woman uses the ATM machine outside a branch of the Bank of Cyprus in the central capital Nicosia, on Monday, March 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA – Two ex-Bank of Cyprus top officials accused of taking part in a scheme to fake the 2010 annual report and manipulate the market were acquitted by a criminal court but five others in the case will be tried.

Former CEO Andreas Eliades and Yiannis Kypris were cleared, said the Cyprus Mail, in a decision that came after a pre-trial motion by the defense which argued the charges were similar to those in two other previous cases involving the bank and the defendants who were acquitted.

The case continues for Christis Hadjimitsis, Nicolas Karidas, Christodoulos Patsalides, Eliza Livadiotou, and Despina Kyriakidou, the paper said.

In January though, Eliades had been found guilty in the first case relating to events in the bank that almost caused its collapse in 2013 when Cyprus’ top banks were nearly brought down by bad loans to Greek businesses caught in that country’s ongoing economic crisis and in their big holdings in Greek bonds devalued by 74 percent in a futile attempt to slow the rise of debt.

Eliades earlier received a sentence of 2 ½ years before the Supreme Court overturned the verdict while Kypris and the others were also cleared.

Eliades and Kypri were also charged in a second case over the acquisition of Greek government bonds and their failure to inform shareholders of the risks of the investment that saw many in the Diaspora damaged or seeing their investments cut to almost nothing.

They were acquitted following another Supreme Court court decision, which argued that the charge sheet did not reveal a criminal offense.