World Bulletin/News Desk
Greece's central bank governor George Provopoulos told parliament on Friday the Greek banking system was well regulated, otherwise it would have collapsed.
Provopoulos was answering questions about Piraeus Bank's takeover of troubled state lender ATEbank. MPs also asked him about reports by Reuters regarding Piraeus' chairman, Michael Sallas.
He said the articles about Sallas referred "to isolated incidents, implications that are presented as facts and selected parts of statements by experts and non-experts to arrive at an arbitrary conclusion in my opinion - that the Greek banking system is suffering from bad corporate governance and inadequate regulation."
If this were true, Provopoulos said, "then today there would no banks left standing." He added that "when a country's regulatory authority is defamed, in the end the country itself is defamed."
Greek banks, battered by the country's severe debt crisis and deep recession, have had to be recapitalised. Shut off from the interbank market, they rely on the national central bank for liquidity. They have also tapped 18 billion euros so far of 48 billion euros in agreed bailout funds from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Last week, the government gave the green light for Piraeus to take over the healthy part of ATEbank, which was seriously undercapitalised and deemed unviable.
A Reuters report in July revealed how Piraeus raised more than 140 million euros of new capital via special offshore companies, some linked to Sallas and his family, funded by other Greek banks. Some academic experts described the scheme as tantamount to raising "virtual capital".
Answering opposition Syriza party MP Nadia Valavanou on the issue, Provopoulos said no Greek or European law was violated because Sallas' holding in Piraeus was under 5 percent and the loans were provided by another bank.
Provopoulos said Sallas had reported to the central bank both his direct and indirect holdings, but was not obliged to disclose holdings of his family members because they did not act jointly with him and were not financially dependent on him.
Regarding allegations in Reuters reports that the bank was renting properties from vehicles linked to Sallas and his family, Provopoulos said the issue was being probed by the central bank. The governor, a former senior executive at Piraeus and Emporiki Bank, said that so far, "there is no regulatory interest as far as a possible conflict of interest is concerned or a negative impact on the equity capital of Piraeus Bank."
A spokesman for Piraeus said it had nothing to add to Provopoulos' remarks.
Piraeus is suing Reuters over the story about the bank renting properties owned by companies run by Sallas and his family. The bank is claiming 50 million euros in damages.
Reuters global editor for ethics and standards, Alix M. Freedman, said: "Our coverage of Piraeus and of the Greek banking system has been accurate and fair to every person and institution involved."
Volatility of Turkish lira and recovering oil prices are key issues for revision of inflation forecast
Gross domestic product expanded in the third quarter of the year, although slightly weaker compared with growth of 0.7 percent in the three months to the end of June, when Britain voted in a referendum for Brexit.
Binali Yildirım touts Turkey's strong, stable political administration, saying it will offer incentives for investment
Ministers meet in Ankara to discuss boosting trade volume from $10 billion to $30 billion
The 3 countries are agreed to expand scope of free trade deals by 2017, says Turkish economy minister
Under current conditions, the IEA expects global output to exceed demand until the second half of 2017, Fatih Birol told journalists on the sidelines of an energy conference in Singapore.
The decision comes as the steel arm of the sprawling $100 billion conglomerate struggles to offload its loss-making British assets while its carmaking business continues to be plagued by weak sales.
Water quality and shortages also remain threat to health of many with onset of diseases
Bank expects ‘solid rise in energy prices, led by oil' next year
Bank of Uganda Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said in a statement the bank would remain open, continue to operate normally and that the central bank would protect deposits.
Four presidents meet, but hopes of diplomatic breakthrough for cease-fire in eastern Ukraine remain low
Having taken years to negotiate, some producers voiced impatience for the deal to now be finally sealed; others simply fail to see why anyone would reject it.
"The value of this project will be $10 billion with a final production level of 600,000 barrels of oil per day," he said in Tehran.
Bangladesh has been one of the worst victims of global warming, with thousands of people being killed by cyclones in recent years that have become more frequent and deadlier.
Exporting Israeli gas via Turkey to Europe is viable option, says Israeli Energy Minister
French energy group EDF views Turkey as 'growth country' with more room for nuclear, renewable and hydro projects, VP says