Cyprus Mail

AKEL feels vindicated, DISY says it came clean a long time ago (updated)

By George Psyllides

AKEL claimed on Wednesday it had been vindicated by the attorney-general’s report on alleged party donations from Focus Maritime since accusations that it received money had not been proven, while DISY reiterated that it came clean about the case a long time ago.

In a written statement following the AG’s news conference, DISY reminded that it had never sought to hide anything.

Both the former party chief, current President of Republic Nicos Anastasiades, and party chairman Averof Neophytou, gave explanations from the beginning, DISY said.

The party said a group of shipowners had donated cash for the campaign – €50,000 was transferred to a party account while the rest was used to pay for airline tickets to bring students to Cyprus in February 2008.

“That funding, as the attorney-general has said, does not violate any law,” the party said.

In the meantime, the party said, a legal framework has been established to regulate party funding. The new law prohibits large donations.

“We respect investigating procedures and we believe that probes, like the ongoing one, boost transparency in public life.”

AKEL said the report was a slap in the face to those who had been slinging mud at the party for the past two years.

Political bureau member Stephanos Stephanou said overzealous authorities have been trying to find something against AKEL over the supposed €2mln funding of the party by Focus.

“The report vindicates AKEL,” Stepahnou said. “From two million we went to 10 tickets. An attempt is being made to turn the suspicions of the investigators – who, it is well known, acted against AKEL in the past years — into facts.”

Stephanou said the report makes no mention of the unsubstantiated accusations about funds channelled through an audit firm, whose owner has been exhausted professionally, financially, and morally, by the repeated selective and arbitrary leaks and reports.

“The inability to find something against AKEL is so obvious that the authorities employ vague and contradicting statements of voters from 2008 to ‘discover’ what everyone knows: that all election campaigns make arrangements to fly in students,” he added.

We remind people that AKEL, in a bid to protect its dignity and history, has filed a defamation lawsuit against daily Politis newspaper.

“We call on the people of AKEL to rally, and protect their party. We also call on Cypriot citizens to protect democracy, justice, and political life from slander and mud-slinging.”

To DIKO, the report raised a big political and moral issue for DISY and AKEL.

The party questioned what the people who funded their campaigns wanted in return and why did they not fund Tassos Papadopoulos, who was eliminated in the first round.

DIKO said it expected an investigation into whether the lack of a probe over the collapse of Laiki Bank, and the fact that Vgenopoulos has not been prosecuted so far, was what the two parties gave in return.



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