By Peter Stevenson
FORMER interior minister Dinos Michaelides was in Limassol district court on Tuesday yesterday to appeal the arrest warrant issued against him in connection with money laundering investigations.
Michaelides and his son Michalis were last in court on July 19 following the decision by the Greek authorities to issue a European arrest warrant for the pair.
His son will appear in court today to appeal his arrest warrant.
The proceedings which were due to start at 10am were delayed one hour due to procedural issues.
Senior state prosecutor Liza Christodoulidou spent almost two hours explaining to the court that the European arrest warrant issued for the two men should be upheld.
Proceedings began with both sides submitting various documents to the court. The prosecution submitted nine documents in total. They were from both Greek and Cypriot authorities as well as the European arrest warrant and the document detailing the amendment to the constitution which would allow Cyprus to extradite Michaelides.
The defence submitted four documents as evidence including the previous court decision which cleared Michaelides from extradition as well as various interviews which were recorded.
Christodoulidou explained to the court that following the amendment to the constitution, the only course of action it could follow was to uphold the European arrest warrant which was issued for Michaelides and his son.
The defence asked for a continuation in order to study certain documents. The prosecution argued though that the defence should have been ready to deliver its argument in court.
The court granted the defence’s request and their case will be heard on Monday at 10am.
Greek authorities are investigating the pair in relation to alleged kickbacks given in relation to the purchase by Greece of Russian TOR-M1 surface-to-air missile systems.
The alleged offences that father and son are wanted for, took place between 1997 and 2001. Greek authorities had originally issued an arrest warrant for the duo ay the beginning of the month, when Cyprus’ constitution prohibited extraditing Cypriots abroad for offences committed before Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004.
Lawmakers subsequently amended the relevant legislation, removing the exception originally inserted by MPs some years ago. The Greek authorities moved quickly to rescind the original warrants and issue new ones, following the unusually swift processes of the island’s legislature.