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Cyprus starts prosecutions for economic meltdown

Cyprus will start legal prosecutions related to its economic meltdown a year ago in the coming weeks, the country’s top legal official said on Thursday, without specifying who they would target.

Attorney-General Costas Clerides said authorities would be working with experts from abroad in building cases, but declined to go into more details.

“Cases which are ready, or almost ready, will be referred to court in coming weeks,” Clerides said.

Cyprus came close to economic collapse in March 2013 because of the heavy exposure of its banks to indebted Greece and fiscal slippage.

It was forced to shut one major lender and large depositors had to forfeit their savings to recapitalize a second in return for 10 billion euros from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The two banks – the now-defunct Laiki and Bank of Cyprus – chalked up massive losses from an EU-sanctioned writedown of Greek sovereign debt, forcing an already cash-starved state to buckle and seek emergency aid from lenders.

One report compiled by central bank consultants said that the former management of Bank of Cyprus plowed millions into risky, high-yielding Greek debt to offset an erosion of its balance sheet from rising nonperforming loans.

The report also highlighted deletions of data at the bank which delayed their probe.

[Reuters]

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