The former head of the Bank of Cyprus Andreas Eliades has accused Cypriot authorities of making the bailed-out institution a scapegoat in order to hide its own shortcomings.
Reuters reports Mr Eliades, who was chief executive officer (CEO) at the bank from 2005 until mid-2012, told a judicial inquiry looking into causes of the financial crisis: "If the government had acted to restore fiscal imbalances, even in the first quarter of 2012, the measures would be infinitely less painful then they are today."
He said the decision to purchase Greek bonds wasn't his and the institution could not predict the 80 per cent writedown that ensued.
Cyprus became the fourth member of the eurozone to require an international bailout when it secured a 10-billion-euro rescue package in March.
As part of the deal, the country agreed to seize the cash of big depositors at the Bank of Cyprus and wound down Laiki Bank.
By Claire Archer