News Local AG asks police to launch criminal investigation into co-op

AG asks police to launch criminal investigation into co-op

The attorney general has asked police to investigate possible criminal behaviour at the co-op both before and after it was recapitalised in 2013.

The decision follows an investigation into the collapse of the co-op by an independent committee of inquiry.

The Cyprus News Agency said attorney general Costas Clerides wants police to probe the behaviour of officials at a number of co-ops before it was recapitalised by the state in 2013.

He also wants police to look at seven issues after it was recapitalised including cases of debt forgiveness and of loan approvals, over charging of interest and the agreement with Altamira to manage the co-op’s NPLs.

“The well backed up study by the legal service of the report of the committee of inquiry into the collapse of the co-operative has led to the conclusion that the start of criminal inquiries as to the possibility of criminal offences is justified,” the legal service said.

It asked the police to investigate the behaviour of officials at the following former co-ops: Strovolos, Ledra, Paralimni, Vasiliko Pentaschino, Makrasyka, Kontea, Ayia Napa, Erimi, Polemidhia, Ayias Fylaxeos, Nicosia, Solia, Lakatamia-Deftera, Trachoni, Akrotiri, Polis Chrysochous, Troodos, Achna, Athienou, Latsia, Krassochoria, Limassol, Dali, Polemi, Allilengi, Stroumbi and Women’s Initiative.

It said actions by officials at the co-ops appear to have led to the need to recapitalise the co-op in 2013 with the state making available €1.5b, the legal service said.

As regards the period after the recapitalisation of the co-op until its collapse in 2018, the legal service asked the police to look at the following:

1. The conditions under which  €63 m was written off for 19 NPLs.

2. 16 cases of loans with the investigation to look at interest rates, adequacy of collateral, delays in repayment, adherence to the agreements, collection of late dues for NPLs.

3. Possible criminal offences from overcharging interest.

4. The conditions under which entertainment and other expenses were examined and approved, including the use of company credit cards.

5. The way advertising funds were assigned and distributed.

6. The conditions under which the agreement between the CCB and Altamira was negotiated and signed.

7.  The purchase of services for  €37 m as listed in the report.

The legal service said that police investigations will not be limited to the above, should suspicions be aroused of other possible offences.

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