Former European Party (EVROKO) chairman Demetris Syllouris issued a cheque for €101,833.62, which represents the state subsidy the party received for 2016, to parliament’s director, after the party was folded into Eleni Theocharous’ Solidarity movement last week, it was announced on Thursday.
Syllouris had come under fire for deciding to keep the subsidy even after his party was incorporated into another political formation.
On Tuesday, Theocharous weighed in on the issue, claiming that the public discussion of EVROKO’s government subsidy is “petty”, and that “all of the European Party’s assets have been transferred to Solidarity”.
In an interview with news portal reporter.com.cy on Wednesday, Syllouris defended his decision by arguing that all legally-prescribed procedures were followed.
“The European Party acted in accordance with the law and its charter, and all its assets, as well as obligations, were transferred to Solidarity,” Syllouris had said.
“We are talking about a full merger, a full incorporation. Is it conceivable for two entities to come together and the money, or anything else, go somewhere else?”
A day later, Syllouris delivered a cheque for the amount of the subsidy his party received from the government to the parliament’s director, Vasiliki Anastasiadou.
In a letter accompanying the cheque, Syllouris said he was returning the money even though he was “certain that no issues would be raised [by keeping it]”.
“But the effort of some people to distort the truth forces me to follow this course,” he added.
Speaking to reporters at parliament, Syllouris said that “due to malicious rumours and press reports regarding the subsidy received by EVROKO, and despite our certainty regarding our rights, which we will fight for until we are vindicated, and despite having informed the authorities at every step of the way, transparency and principle do not allow us to stand for whisper campaigns,” he said.
“This does not mean that I accept the rumours. I repeat, I will fight for this, and then some, when it is time.”
It is understood that Syllouris plans to seek vindication in court.
Meanwhile, in a letter to Syllouris, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides acknowledged EVROKO’s striking off from the registry of political parties, but notes that “irrespective of this, your obligations to file the party’s financial statements for the period until it was struck off, remain in force, and you are advised to forward them to the Audit Service as soon as possible”.