Cyprus Mail

AKEL launches legal offensive over Focus allegations

AKEL's General Secretary Andros Kyprianou

By Angelos Anastasiou

The communist party has asked its legal advisors to study all reports published in relation to the controversial issue of alleged donations made by Focus Maritime Corporation and will proceed with legal action, AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou said on Wednesday.

“We will file libel suits against anyone attempting to slander AKEL politically with no evidence, and we will move ahead with them,” he said. “AKEL is not implicated in this story at all.”

Earlier in April, local daily Politis had claimed that Cyprus’ two major parties, ruling DISY and opposition AKEL, had received donations in 2007 and 2008 from Focus, owned by Greek ship-owner Michalis Zolotas, which the paper maintained is a close friend and associate of failed Laiki bank’s former strongman, Andreas Vgenopoulos, implying that the payments were really made on Vgenopoulos’ behalf in order to gain political influence.

But while DISY acknowledged receipt of some money from Focus and pledged to return it, AKEL maintained vehement denial. Attorney-general Kostas Clerides announced that he would ask the heads of the two parties to his office in order to present evidence relating to the Focus case.

But when Kyprianou was asked whether the Attorney-general’s office had provided him with any new information, he referred to Clerides’ statement on Monday, in which he said that the information on this issue is inconclusive and sharing them would harm the case under investigation.

“We respect the Attorney General’s opinion and expect him to come to us,” he said.

Meanwhile, asked to comment on some parties’ position that the issue of party finances primarily concerns the Auditor-general’s office, instead of the Attorney-general, Kyprianou conceded the Attorney-general’s legal power over party finances, but reaffirmed the party’s readiness to provide the Auditor-general full access to its books, nonetheless.

“We will open our cards to the Auditor-general, there is no problem,” he said. “We will submit our accounts.”

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