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Archbishop: those who are to blame should be put on trial

By  Poly Pantelides     Published on March 24, 2013

Cypriots light candles in Church yesterday


THOSE responsible for the sorry state of the economy should be put on trial, Archbishop Chrysostomos II said yesterday.

As a major stakeholder in Hellenic Bank, the majority stake of which belongs to the Church of Cyprus, Chrysostomos said he was planning to sue.  He was speaking after a Sunday service in Nicosia.

“I’m not going to leave anyone out,” he said adding this included former finance ministers, Central Bank brass and bankers and other former government officials.

“The government that has just left office (in February) is definitely to blame. The finance ministers are to blame. The Central Bank turned everything upside down. The managers and bank executives should be put on trial because they turned everything topsy-turvy and people have become destitute, all of a sudden without forewarning,” the Archbishop said.

“It is not vengeance,” the Primate said but punishing the wrongdoers so that the rest “may be afraid”.

In January, former president Demetris Christofias had lumped the Archbishop in with the group of businessmen and bankers he held responsible for the financial crisis on the island.

The Archbishop said that Cyprus now had no one else to rely on except its own people. He did say however that the Cypriot people had become used to living too comfortably, and should learn to live on tighter budgets.

The Archbishop, who offered the Church’s wealth in its entirety to the solidarity fund set up by the government, also said: “The euro cannot last. I’m not saying that it will crumble tomorrow, but with the brains that they have in Brussels, it is certain that it will not last in the long term, and the best is to think about how to escape it. It’s not easy, but we should devote to this [quitting the euro] as much time as was spent on entering the eurozone.”

He also said he would invite the heads of Russian companies to the Archbishopric for a working lunch this coming Thursday in order to encourage them to stay in Cyprus.

He would remind them of how their initial deposits in Cyprus have grown over the years through the favourable terms that have always characterised the island’s financial sector, which now lies in tatters.

Although he said the Church would help where it could, the Primate also added, “If the (bailout) terms are going to bring bankruptcy, let us leave them behind and let us become bankrupt.”


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