HSBC becomes first foreign bank in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus NICOSIA – Britain’s HSBC became the first major international bank with operations in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus for nearly two decades when it officially took over a Turkish bank with branches on the island this week. HSBC acquired Demirbank, Turkey’s ninth largest bank last year, for $350 million and merged it with its Turkish subsidiary HSBC Bank AS. Demirbank’s three branches in northern Cyprus were converted over the New Year to show the HSBC logo. (Reuters) Fines for euro-violations The government intends to intensify market inspections to prevent any unwarranted price increases in the process of conversion to the euro, according to the deputy development minister responsible for commerce, Christos Theodorou. Recent checks identified a handful of violations of regulations, including the requirement of displaying prices in both currencies. The violators will be subject to fines ranging from 50,000 to 20 million drachmas. Meanwhile, in the context of efforts to promote the plans for privately operated power stations, RAE recently handed Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos and the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) its proposals for gas rates in power production. Sources say these are lower than DEPA’s usual rates.