Cyprus justice system collapsing

Cyprus justice system collapsing

Nicosia, April 15, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriakos Penintaex

Attorney General Costas Clerides said that the deputy head of the Republic`s Law Office Rikkos Erotokritou has been bribed, according to the report of  special investigator, Panayiotis Kallis.

He also accused the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades for supporting Erotokritou.

He specifically said that “all legal and constitutional procedures are followed with devotion and in the end the accused turn into accusers with the assistance of the country’s supreme ruler. Shame

Panayiotis Kallis carried out an inquiry into allegations made by Central Bank Board of Directors Member Stelios Kiliaris that Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji had during a Board of Directors meeting spoken of an alleged `bribe` of Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou by Panayiotis Neocleous of the law firm Andreas Neocleous & Co.

Clerides told the press that the investigator believes that Erotokritou has been bribed by Neocleous. According to Kallis` report, Erotokritou made a backstage deal with the firm so that he wins a case in the court in which Neocleous law firm represented former Laiki Bank against Erotokritou who was claiming the offsetting of his deposits and loans. In exchange Erotokritou would order the prosecution of some Russian nationals against which Neocleous had brought a court case over the disputed management of the Russian offshore company “Providencia Ltd”.

Clerides said that the procedure provided by the law for such criminal offences will be followed.

He added however that other parameters should be taken into account, such as Erotokritou`s position as Deputy Attorney General.

He noted that the investigator`s report is not binding and that the criminal process will go on in the usual manner.

He also spoke of a “grim day” for the Law Office of Cyprus.

Clerides also said that there were some indirect interventions by people who sought to find out the content of Kallis` report.

Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou spoke of conspiracy against him related to his actions over the undergoing probe into the collapse of the country`s economy and made it clear that he will not quit his position.

Erotokritou said that since there are indications that he has been bribed, there should also be indications that the Attorney General who, as argued by Erotokritou, ordered the suspension of the case against the Russian nationals after receiving a call from their lawyer Pambos Ioannides, has also been bribed.

He noted that the Police should open the bank accounts of himself and also of the Attorney General and the former Attorney General, the Registrar of Companies, the law firm of Pambos Ioannides and Neocleous.

President Nicos Anastasiades announced later on that a new investigation will be launched to look into the accussations made by Deputy Attorney-general Rikkos Erotokritou.

In a short written statement Anastasiades expressed his “grief and concern”.

“I think that everything that saw the public light should be investigated swiftly, thoroughly and objectively …” Anastasiades said. He added that the cabinet on Wednesday would look into the appointment of “independent criminal investigators to probe the new data” published on Tuesday.

An angry Clerides in response to the implication that his own actions were not above board, said in a written statement:  “All legal and constitutional procedures are followed with devotion and in the end the accused turn into accusers with the assistance of the country’s supreme ruler. Shame!”.

Clerides said he had followed Erotokritou’s statements carefully, and the president’s announcement. He said he refused to respond to unfounded statements designed to create a smokescreen.

Unfortunately, Clerides said, “I see my last expectations for a better future in this country disproved.”