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Bar Association rubbishes Ryanair probe reports

A report by web portal Sigmalive that the Cyprus Bar Association’s probe into the alleged involvement of President Nicos Anastasiades’ former law firm into Ryanair’s bid to buy the now-defunct Cyprus Airways had been concluded, prompted a denial by the association on Friday.

Suspicions of wrongdoing by Anastasiades’ law firm – a partnership ran by his former partners Stathis Lemis and Fanos Filippou since Anastasiades was elected President – were voiced by Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides, who found that, since the President’s former law firm withdrew from representing Ryanair in the negotiations and the airline sought new legal representation, no evidence of misconduct came up.

But he did find that two lawyers from Anastasiades’ law firm did take part in subsequent talks last October – a month after the law firm pulled out of the Ryanair job – and signed their presence under different names.

Last February, a probe by Attorney-general Costas Clerides found no law had been violated by Anastasiades or anyone connected with him, but the two lawyers were referred to the Bar Association’s Disciplinary Council.

According to Sigmalive, the council’s probe was scheduled to have been concluded last week, but a one-week extension was granted, resulting in the final report being delivered to the Bar Association on Thursday.

But while none of the probe report’s findings have surfaced, Sigmalive cited sources “outside the Bar Association” which claimed that the investigation found no wrongdoing, and that the one-week extension may mask a last-ditch effort at finding something.

“With regard to a report by Sigmalive regarding the Ryanair probe, the Cyprus Bar Association announces that the Disciplinary Council is an independent body, and that at no point was the Cyprus Bar Association involved in the Ryanair report,” a statement said on Friday.

The Disciplinary Council comprises the attorney-general, the head of the Cyprus Bar Association, and five practicing lawyers elected every three years by the association’s general meeting.

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