Cyprus’ Parliament Postpones Hearing

20 February 2015

The hearing at the House of Representatives – the Cyprus Parliament – into actions taken by the Central Bank of Cyprus against FBME, which was scheduled for last Tuesday 17 February, was postponed at the request of the Cyprus Attorney General, Costas Clerides. In acceding to the request, members of the Parliamentary committee due to host the hearing made clear that it would be re-staged at a later date.

According to an 11 February letter from the Attorney General that was run in the Cyprus media, Mr Clerides asked for the postponement so that nothing would emerge that might cause problems for the Republic in the proceedings pending in the courts in Cyprus and in the international arbitral tribunal at the ICC in Paris. He had also declined to attend the hearing himself. Clearly, he has a potentially difficult position in balancing the interests of State institutions alongside that of justice and the actions of senior officials.

A member of the parliamentary oversight committee, Aristos Damianou MP, has been quoted in the media in Cyprus, saying that while the committee did not want to hurt the interests of the State, its decision should in no way be taken as an indefinite postponement.

“On the contrary,” he pointed out, “those responsible for handling the matter will be called, as part of the parliamentary control, to account for their actions, inactions or omissions.”

Speaking on behalf of members of the committee, Mr Damianou added that MPs do not want “… any parliamentary discussion to create an alibi for actions that happened in the past by whichever institution … nonetheless we are concerned about the prior handling (of the FBME case) by leading institutions of the Republic, which could potentially end up costing the Republic several millions”.