Property Mis-selling: Cyprus

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd July 2014.

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Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith 11:30 am, 22nd July 2014

If he will take steps to support UK citizens who have been victims of property mis-selling in Cyprus.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

Following our lobbying, the Cypriot Government have now formed a ministerial committee to address property issues, including foreign currency mortgages and title deeds. We continue to work with that committee and with the Cypriot Government generally to try to resolve property problems, which undoubtedly cause great anguish to those British citizens caught up in them.

Photo of Mark Lazarowicz Mark Lazarowicz Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith

The Minister is aware that thousands of British citizens, including a number of my constituents, have lost large sums of money—sometimes their life savings—as a result of a particular property mis-selling scam, and now some of them are being pursued in the British courts by some of the banks involved in the scandal. The decision by the Cypriot Government to set up a committee is therefore welcome, but can the Minister take a more active role in trying to ensure that those who have suffered from the scam do not suffer even more?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

This certainly remains a high priority for us in our meetings with Cypriot Ministers; it is a matter which our high commissioner takes up regularly with Cypriot officials and Ministers and which I have raised on many occasions with successive Foreign Ministers of Cyprus. Clearly, when a matter is before United Kingdom courts, there are limits to what Ministers can do to intervene, but I will always be happy to talk to the hon. Gentleman if there are particular constituency cases he would like to discuss.