The European Central Bank and the Troika boosted Cyprus with millions flown on secret flights to Larnaca in a bid to save the Euro, the Daily Mail revealed yesterday.
The newspaper published an edited extract from the new book of financial journalist Faisal Islam who covered the crisis in the Eurozone, including Cyprus, for Britain’s Channel 4 TV.
Islam said the clandestine flights to Larnaca followed the Greek crisis where secret flights “stuffed full of cash” saved the euro.
The book is entitled: “The Default Line: The Inside Story of People, Banks and Entire Nations on the Edge”.
“When Greece burned and its banks melted, the EU talked tough and threatened to cut it loose…..but covertly flooded it with €10 billion.”
“It was not long before Greece’s near neighbour and cultural sibling, Cyprus found that it too was in crisis,” said the newspaper.
It said Berlin was determined that a large chunk of the bailout would come from savings deposited in Cypriot banks. Bedlam, bank holidays and bank runs were the predictable result.
“As dusk fell over Nicosia on March 27 this year, the shouts of protesters were drowned out by the angry buzzing of helicopters and deafening wail of police sirens.”
According to Islam, “the uproar seemed to be converging on the Central Bank. Had the previous day’s sit-down protest by bank workers turned into a riot?”
Islam said that at the Central Bank in Nicosia, tense meetings between international financiers, American management consultants, British Treasury advisers and Cypriot bankers suddenly broke off.
“Four very large green juggernauts laden with euros had arrived from the European Central Bank, just hours before Cyprus’ banks were due to open.”
“An historic just-in-time delivery. That afternoon a Maersk Star Air Cargo had parked up at the end of the runaway at Larnaca airport.
“Flight logs record that the plane, registration OY-SRH, had flown from Cologne to Munich in the early hours, and then, via Athens, to Larnaca.
“It was carrying €5 billion in notes-not a bailout, but an epic logistical effort to sate the Cypriot desire for paper money.”
The author says that the cash had been transferred from Bundensbank logistical reserve at the request of the ECB, but only after the Cypriot government had done its ‘homework’, complying with Troika demands for economic and financial reform.
“After the notes had been loaded on to the trucks, their journey to Nicosia was accompanied by squads of police cars, while helicopters buzzed overhead.”