The Attorney General of Cyprus will decide how to deal with the former President of the Republic who stormed out of a judicial inquiry investigating the downfall of the Cyprus economy.
Ex President Demetris Christofias, on who’s watch the services-based economy and the banking sector collapsed due to poor administration, lack of oversight and a runaway public sector debt, wanted special treatment by the three-judge panel, saying that he “is not like any other witness” and as a former chief executive of the state should be treated otherwise.
His walk-out was deemed as being in contempt of court and an insult to the judges, prompting the local media and all political forces, except his own Communist party Akel, to describe Christofias’ action as undermining democracy and the liberal judicial system that Cyprus enjoys.
The demise of the economy and the intervention of the Troika of international lenders (IMF, ECB, European Commission) for a 10 bln euro bailout, the harsh terms of which brought the island to its knees, was the key issue that lost Christofias the elections in February.
Incoming president Nicos Anastasiades was obliged to agree to a memorandum of understanding with the Troika that included slashing the public sector payroll and reducing the bloated government workforce, as well as a “bail in” to rescue the banking sector having first confiscated unsecured deposits of more than 100,000 euros.
However, the previous administration refuses to admit any wrongdoing and in the epic 40-page statement that he was not allowed to recite in front of the panel, Christofias said that the whole crisis was due to the “greedy” local banks buying toxic Greek government bonds, and the lack of supervision by his declared arch-enemy, former centralbanker Athanasios Orphanides.
Christofias was also upset that he was not sent the judicial panel’s questions in advance so that he could reply from the comfort of his home, while expressed disdain for the fact that Orphanides would be allowed to testify after him.
In any case, the judicial panel’s president, Judge Pikis, said that Christofias would not have to pay the 2,000 euro fine for contempt of court.
As regards a written testimony, Judge Pikis said that Christofias was told that he would have to answer to the question of the panel first and would then be allowed to submit any document. Pikis said that by his own admission Christofias said reading out his written testimony would take 90 minutes.
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