by Harald Schumann
Der Tagesspiegel/The Press Project
March 3, 2015
The allegation: Cyprus received loans only on the condition that its banks sold their branches in Greece to a competitor in Athens at a fraction of their value. ThePressProject publishes exclusively in Greece the investigation of German journalist Harald Schumann for the newspaper Tagesspiegel.
As an experienced politician, Nicolas Papadopoulos is accustomed to difficult times. He has been an MP and head of the Cypriot Parliamentary Finance Committee for nine years. He is also head of the socially liberal Democratic Party (DIKO) so no one can accuse him of being a political radical. But when the 41 year old tells this story, his voice breaks and his fury brings tears to his eyes. "My country," he says, "is the victim of a daylight robbery." "They stole three and a half billion euros from us and gave it to a Greek bank." "People’s life savings, the money our citizens saved for their retirement." Now many will even lose their homes. "The troika and the Eurogroup decided this, and we were forced to agree since they had a gun to our heads '. It was "one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Eurozone."
So did Eurozone Finance Ministers and officials of the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF perpetrate a billion euro robbery? It sounds absurd. But the allegation is based on facts and documents. They show that officials in Brussels and Frankfurt imposed a highly controversial agreement on the country, under the terms of which customers of the Cypriot banks lost three billion euros, which a Greek bank then received as profit. So far parliamentarians and the European courts have not dealt at all with this question, and one reason for this is that the Cypriot government does not dare to speak publicly. It is is dependent on the goodwill of the ECB and the European Commission. Now, however, hundreds of Cypriots have appealed to the European Court of Justice and the Central Bank of Cyprus intends to launch an investigation.