By Constantinos Psillides
FIVE lawyers employed by the law firm founded by President Nicos Anastasiades, who allegedly tried to hide that connection while involved in a bid by Ryanair to buy off the now defunct Cyprus Airways, will be the subject of a disciplinary probe by the Cyprus Bar Association, a source on the association’s board told the Cyprus Mail.
The probe is expected to be completed within two weeks.
The Bar association is looking into the actions of Nikolas Christofinis and Maria Komodromou, lawyers working for Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners – a law firm the president co-founded, Soteris and Maria Pitta of “Soteris Pittas & Co LLC” that were handed the Ryanair bid but apparently failed to disclose the two lawyers’ real identities, and Fanos Fillipou, a partner at Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners who publicly admitted that the two lawyers acted under his instructions.
Two separate probes launched by the Auditor-general and the Attorney-eneral found last month that Anastasiades had nothing to do with the case. The president has stated that since he was elected he has no relation to the law firm.
The probes were launched in February after it was reported that the president’s former firm had represented Ryanair back in September when it had submitted a bid to buy the bankrupt national carrier.
The law firm said they initially acted as legal advisors for Ryanair in relation to Cyprus Airways, but subsequently terminated their relationship with the Irish airline.
The firm released a letter to the low-cost airline, dated September 30, informing Ryanair that it was no longer interested in acting as their legal advisors in the process.
Ryanair was subsequently represented by Soteris Pittas LLC.
However, in a meeting discussing Cyprus Airways on October 31, along with Pittas were two lawyers who, it transpired later, worked for the Anastasiades law firm.
The two apparently tried to disguise their identities by signing with different names.
Philippou took full responsibility for the October 31 meeting, saying it was his own decision to send the two lawyers.
In a statement, Philippou said the two lawyers were asked to attend by Soteris Pittas LLC in order to assist with any pertinent information on the Cyprus Airways case. The two kept a low profile throughout, and did not stay there for more than 30 minutes.
Philippou rejected the notion that the two lawyers disguised their identities.