Ex-Cyprus president dismisses inquiry findings

Cyprus’s former communist president Demetris Christofias on Monday dismissed a report by an independent judicial panel that put the chief blame on him and his government for the Cypriot financial crisis as “full of untruths.”

Christofias, who refused to testify to the independent panel saying it had no mandate, said after the official presentation of the report yesterday that the three-member commission ignored what he considered to be the main causes of the crisis, i.e. greedy bankers over-exposing themselves to risk and an ineffective regulator. “It is an illegal committee… which concluded on a text laced with untruths and slander,” he said in a statement.

The report, commissioned by the current center-right government, described how fiscal surpluses turned into runaway deficits, unemployment trebled and Cyprus was shut out of international financial markets on the watch of its previous communist rulers, in power from 2008 to early 2013.

It concluded that Christofias’s government failed to control spending and behaved in an imperious manner. “It’s reasonable to conclude that the (former) president and the government functioned with the mantra ‘I’m in government, I do what I like’,” said George Pikis, a former chief justice who headed the panel.