Bank of Cyprus ex-CEO guilty of manipulation ahead of crash


Nicosia (AFP)

A Cypriot court on Thursday found a former CEO of Bank of Cyprus guilty of market manipulation shortly before the island's banking system almost collapsed in 2013.

The court ruled that Andreas Eliades had deceived shareholders on the actual capital shortfall of Bank of Cyprus (BoC) at an AGM in June 2012.

BoC as a legal entity was also found guilty of failing to give a clear picture of the bank's financial situation, although four other former senior officials were acquitted.

Cyprus is recovering from a financial crisis that left a number of its top banks insolvent and forced it to negotiate a harsh bailout with international creditors.

In March 2013, Cyprus clinched a 10-billion-euro ($11.7 billion) loan from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to bail out its economy and bloated banking system.

Under the deal, the government was required to close the island's second-largest bank, Laiki, and impose a 47.5-percent haircut on deposits above 100,000 euros at BoC, its top lender.

According to data from the IMF and the Central Bank of Cyprus, a total of 8 billion euros was wiped out as part of the bailout agreed in 2013.

The case against BoC, the first of its kind in a state investigation into the causes of the crash, was adjourned until December 20 for mitigation arguments.