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article imageFormer Cyprus bank chief jailed for market manipulation

By AFP     Jan 5, 2018 in Business

A Cypriot court on Friday jailed a former CEO of Bank of Cyprus after he was found guilty of market manipulation by deceiving shareholders in the lead-up to a banking system meltdown in 2013.

Andreas Eliades was found guilty in December of deceiving shareholders on the actual capital shortfall of BoC, the Mediterranean island's biggest bank, at an annual general meeting in June 2012.

The case is the first in a state probe into the causes of the crash, which left several top Cypriot banks insolvent and forced it to seek an unprecedented international bailout.

The Nicosia criminal court found that Eliades had "knowingly misled" shareholders, who had the right to be properly informed.

"At the time he did not want to give the true picture," their verdict read.

More serious charges of collusion and concealing data were dropped during the trial, and four other former senior officials were acquitted.

Bank of Cyprus was fined 120,000 euros for failing to take the necessary action to give a clear picture of the bank's finances which could have affected its share price.

Cyprus is recovering from the financial crisis which forced it to negotiate a harsh bailout with international creditors in 2013.

In March 2013, Cyprus obtained a 10 billion euro loan from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to bail out its troubled economy and oversized banking system.

Under the terms of the deal, the government had to close the island's second-largest bank, Laiki, and impose a 47.5-percent haircut on BoC deposits above 100,000 euros.

According to data from the IMF and the country's central bank, a total of 8 billion euros was wiped out as part of the bailout agreed in 2013.

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