Bank of Cyprus investigated over 2000 stock story

NICOSIA (Reuters) – The Bank of Cyprus said yesterday it is being investigated by the Cyprus Securities Commission, amid media reports that a share offer it made to fund expansion in Greece was under scrutiny. Newspapers reported the Bank of Cyprus was being investigated over the process of a private placement and public offering of shares in October 2000. At least three Greek-Cypriot newspapers said the bank was under investigation for suggestions it had loaned institutional investors the cash to purchase blocks of the 39 million shares offered and then floated on the Greek stock market. The Bank of Cyprus did not specify details of the probe in a stock market announcement, and the bank, the country’s largest, was not immediately available to comment further. «The Bank of Cyprus announces that there is an inquiry under way by the Cyprus Securities Commission. As we understand, similar inquiries have taken place at a large number of companies, as in Bank of Cyprus in the past,» it said. «Bank of Cyprus has nothing to hide and is at the disposal of the Commission, with which it has full cooperation,» a bank statement said. A source close to the commission declined to confirm any elements of the inquiry, but suggested that some newspapers had «confused» the facts. The Bank of Cyprus’s public placement eventually raised about 200 million Cyprus pounds ($455 million).

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