Cypriot Attorney General speaks out in support of brother, blasts judges

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-16 04:00:34|Editor: yan
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NICOSIA, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus' Attorney General on Tuesday came out in support of his brother in his dispute with Supreme Court judges, accusing them of meting out justice in compromising circumstances.

Clostas Clerides, the top lawyer of the eastern Mediterranean island since he was appointed to the post of Attorney General in 2013, broke out his silence amid a maelstrom engulfing the judicial system as a result of his brother's allegations.

Nicos Clerides, the Attorney General's brother accused the judges of the Supreme Court, Cyprus's highest judicial body, of having improper relations with a Nicosia law office which handles some of the most serious cases the courts had to deal with.

"Our courts are controlled by the Polyviou and Chrysafinis law firm. There is not a single supreme court judge who does not have a child at the law office that promotes the banks' interests," the Attorney General's brother said in a letter to the Bar Association, Which was published on Monday.

The Attorney General said in a lengthy statement that his brother's views were his own, though there had been no collusion or previous consultation among them in relation to his letter.

Costas Clerides cited two cases on which judges of the Supreme Court gave a final judgment, which he claimed were seriously flawed.

Both cases related to charges against Bank of Cyprus and several former top officials of the lender, which was recapitalized by seizing depositors' money in the world first "bail-in", as part of the island's bailout in 2013.

"Three of the five judges on the appeals court have children or a spouse who are employed at the (Chrysafinis and Polyviou) law firm representing the Bank and a former high standing officer in the appeals process," Clerides said.

Both the Bank and its former CEO were cleared of charges of market manipulation.

In the second trial involving Bank of Cyprus, both the lender and its former CEO Andreas Eliades were also cleared of the charge of market manipulation after the Supreme Court overturned their conviction by a lower criminal trial court.

Clerides said the 2 to 1 decision of the appeals court, which was reached with the winning vote of its president and also current president of the Supreme Court, was evidently erroneous, as it said that the bank and its former CEO made false representations as to its financial state, but they did not intend to manipulate the market but rather to "reassure" shareholders.

"It emerged after this judgment that, close relatives of the chair of the appeals court...whose vote decided the outcome of the case in the bank's favor, that is to say the judge's daughter and sister, had benefited from an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit they had filed against the bank," Clerides said.

He did not name the judge but he was referring to the President of the Supreme Court, Myron Nicolatos.

Nicolatos has admitted the facts were true but he claimed that he had nothing to do with the interests of his sister and daughter.

The other judges involved also replied back justifying their actions.

However, legal sources said, the case boils down to the fact the only state function, the judiciary, which enjoyed the respect public opinion, has been irreparably tarnished.