BUSINESS

Vatopedi land swap scandal ‘cost Cyprus 4 bln euros’

The Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, which was embroiled in a huge land swap scandal that emerged in 2008, has been linked to losses of some 4 billion euros for the Cypriot banking system from non-performing loans issued by Marfin Popular Bank, according to figures provided to a parliamentary committee in Nicosia by former Greek MP Dimitris Tsironis, who served as head of the parliamentary committee that investigated the case.

“We estimate that at least 4 billion euros was lost through this affair,” the head of the Cypriot committee, Dimitris Syllouris, said after the end of Tuesday’s session, adding that the committee will expand its investigation.

“We have to proceed to a very deep and enlarged investigation because this really is a huge scandal that was created at the expense of the credit system of Cyprus, including the use of monasteries and companies registered in Cyprus, with suspicious consequences,” said Syllouris.

Tsironis stated that the Cypriot Parliament was given all data collected by the Greek investigation and that “the Cypriot [banking] problem would have been much more limited had it not been for [the Vatopedi case], as this scandal has doubled its problems.”

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