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Tuesday 9 January 2024

The Cyprus bankruptcy - The "Before" and the "after" [part 1]


The most common question I am repeatedly being asked, since I moved my base to England is :

“Why does a Cypriot decide to leave Cyprus for England? “

We all agree that Cyprus is an amazing place for vacations. Good weather, amazing food, quality amenities.. But how about living permanently and working there? Is it as good as England? For sure, it's not.. Let's see why..

Cyprus gained a very bad reputation during the recent years. What all investigations show is that Cyprus is linked to illegal activities like money-laundering and supporting financial crime..

I have no reason to disagree with those publications, at all. On the contrary, I was observing the pattern, at least fifteen years earlier. I started investigations, I verified what was happening and, even worse, I verified that what was happening couldn't change because of the corruption inside the core of the governance.

Let's observe a few details. Cyprus got bankrupt during 2013. The public treasury was empty, the two core banks collapsed and the third, most healthy financial institution went bust a few years later. Would we agree that it doesn’t sound like normal practice for anyone, anywhere? 

Let's get a little bit more specific. The public service was paid by funds transferred from the social security pot. The social security pot was permanently empty so there was no safety pillow for last resort purposes. Public sector was paid by Ponzi financing practices.

Same period , both Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank heavily invested in Greece, the rest of the Balkan peninsula, Ukraine and Russia. All those investments collapsed so both institutions needed recapitalisation. That was part of another Ponzi financing practice but unfortunately nobody dares to talk about Ponzi financing practices in Cyprus..

Since the problems were well known at least one year earlier, we were asked to make scenarios for the next day. Who were “we” ? During that period I was a member of the Cyprus Green Party, acting as Commissioner for Finance, what in the UK is called shadow minister. The exact same time I was studying my Master’s degree so I had access to all similar cases, worldwide. I personally developed a scenario where both banks were split to smaller pieces and sold to healthy institutions, more or less what the UK did during 2008 when they faced a similar situation.

I was amazed by the fact that nobody paid attention to my proposal so I developed my personal scenario for the next day ; a bank account with emergency funds that could be used in order to move to the UK when nothing could be saved..

End of part I

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