Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Judges to investigate Cyprus chaos

Volunteers help collect canned food for the needy in Cyprus (AP)

Three former supreme court judges have been asked by the president of Cyprus to investigate how the country ended up nearly bankrupt.

President Nicos Anastasiades said that ordinary citizens who were shouldering the burden of "actions and omissions" by officials want to see those responsible punished.

He urged the judges to begin by investigating his family's business dealings amid an accusation in an opposition newspaper that a company that is said to be co-owned by one of his relatives took money out of Cyprus' now defunct second-largest lender, Laiki, days before the country agreed to a 16 billion euro international rescue.

Under the terms of the bailout with its euro area partners and the International Monetary Fund, big depositors in Laiki are facing big losses.

The move triggered the resignation of finance minister Michalis Sarris who has faced strong criticism for his handling of Cyprus's negotiations with its international creditors.

Mr Sarris, who had headed the country's troubled Laiki Bank last year in a bid to save it from collapse, said he decided to step down to ease the investigation.

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