THE Attorney General’s office wants to purchase a €600,000 computer server that will help with its investigations into purported financial crime in the build-up to the collapse of the Cypriot economy, local daily Phileleftheros reported on Tuesday.
At the suggestion of British financial crime forensic consultant Ben Johnson, commissioned by Cyprus’ authorities to help with the investigation, the government’s law office has decided to acquire cutting-edge technology that will help clarify individuals’ and companies’ involvement in any criminal activity by cross-referencing data found in a reported 150,000 separate documents of evidence.
Though the Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the issue, the paper reported that due to the high expenditure involved, a meeting with the Finance Ministry was scheduled on Tuesday to evaluate the technology’s expected contribution to the workload and agree on securing the funds for its purchase.
Meanwhile, further investigation into the money trail from the accounts of controversial Focus Maritime Corporation – which has been alleged to have made suspicious payments to former Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Christodoulos Christodoulou as well as the island’s two major political parties DISY and AKEL in 2007 and 2008 – appears to have confirmed that transactions were made abroad, prompting investigators to zero in on money transfers that may have ended up in Cyprus.
Focus, an offshore entity owned by Greek ship-owner Michalis Zolotas, thought by some to be an associate of failed Laiki Bank’s former chief Andreas Vgenopoulos, has been linked to charges of corruption and kickbacks in the press, but they remain to be substantiated in court.
While Vgenopoulos – widely considered a key player in the banking collapse, despite his protests and finger-pointing – has repeatedly denied the alleged association in absolute terms, Zolotas has maintained complete silence throughout the various claims made against him and his company, offering no public comment.
With investigation into various cases of suspected financial misconduct entering the final stretch, police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou has ordered the placement of a guard outside Attorney General Kostas Clerides’ private residence.
The protective measure, taken last Friday, reflects the fact that Clerides will be called on to make prosecution calls relating to the economy’s meltdown.
Despite some public criticism aimed at the Attorney General’s perceived sluggish pace in pressing ahead with prosecutions on the banking and economic woes, the police chief’s move was considered indicative of the timeframe in which they might be expected.