NICOSIA – Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji is under fire with demands for her resignation after revelations that Members of Parliament owe millions of euros in bad loans.
The lawmakers are furious about a media leak that pinpointed their failure to pay their loans at the same time banks are squeezing other customers to meet their obligations.
Georghadji is also caught in a firestorm about her estranged husband’s role in a legal dispute in the case of a bank that was forced to close as part of a deal for the government to get a 10 billion euro international bailout.
Critics said she’s retaliating and suggested a link to the list of lawmakers who aren’t paying that appeared in the media.
“The least the central bank board could do is resign,” Demetris Syllouris, head of Parliament’s ethics committee, said, Reuters reported.
She was referring both to the revelation that Georghadji’s husband worked as a lawyer for a Greek businessman in a legal battle with Cypriot authorities over the collapse of Laiki Bank in 2013, and to allegations that the the central banker was behind the leaked list of indebted politicians.
Georghadji, a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, has denied any conflict of interest and said she would not step down.
“I will continue to serve this independent institution without prejudice, and with the interests of the country in mind,” she said.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, who appointed Georghadji in April 2014 for a five-year term, was to meet her later on March 15 as well as with party leaders and the Auditor-General, who had expressed concerns about Georghadji’s family connections.
Criticism against Georghadji has stepped up since March 12 when an executive member of the central bank’s board quit, accusing her of incompetence.
“She is running (the central bank) like a little shop,” resigned board member Stelios Kiliaris said.
He said Georghadji had aimed to pressure her detractors by compiling a list of lawmakers who had loans in arrears at commercial banks.
“She was holding this list last Monday … she made very serious innuendos about lawmakers who shouldn’t be looking at her own conflict of interest,” Kiliaris told state radio.