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Cyprus Parliament to probe alleged loan write-offs

Cypriot MPs will investigate a list of several million euros of alleged loans to politicians and others said to have been written off by the two banks at the centre of the island’s financial crisis. Marios Mavrides, a deputy with the conservative Disy party of President Nicos Anastasiades, told AFP on Saturday “there is an ad hoc committee that will be investigating these privileged loans.” The list focuses on the activities of ailing lenders Laiki (Popular) Bank and the Bank of Cyprus, as well as Hellenic Bank, and was published on the website of Greek newspaper Ethnos. Under a bailout deal reached this week with the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, Laiki, with billions of euros in losses, is to be wound down. In turn, Laiki’s healthy assets are to be folded into Bank of Cyprus, where depositors faced a “haircut” of up to 60% on balances above €100,000. On Thursday, the Cabinet appointed a panel of three ex-supreme court judges to investigate whether criminal activity was involved in the island’s banking meltdown.