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Justice minister, MOKAS exchange words over leaks issue

Ionas Nicolaou

Taking offence over a reference made by the justice minister, the anti-money laundering unit MOKAS on Thursday categorically rejected that it had ever leaked information relating to ongoing investigations.

“In relation with what was said yesterday (Wednesday) before the House Ethics Committee, which discussed the issue of leaks linked with investigations, MOKAS categorically rejects the justice minister’s reference” that it engaged in such actions.

In a written statement, the unit said never since its creation in 1997 there had been a leak of information by its officers.

“MOKAS deals with confidential and sensitive information, which is handled with full secrecy and discretion,” the statement said.

The reference that irked the unit was made by Ionas Nicolaou while he was telling MPs that the matter of leaks was being treated as corruption.

“Unfortunately, those who make the leaks are people from the crime fighting authorities, either the police, MOKAS, Customs, or other services,” he said on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Nicolaou was forced to explain that he was not putting the blame on a particular service for the leaks, “as the anti-money laundering unit wrongly presumes.”

He said that during the discussion in parliament he noted that a leak could come from the police, MOKAS, Customs, or any other service.

“Consequently, MOKAS’ reaction is excessive,” Nicolaou said. “It should be stressed that if we all really feel the need to jointly tackle the problem of leaks, we must all examine whether it exists in our services without rejecting the possibility beforehand, or else we will never deal with it effectively.”

On Wednesday, Nicolaou told MPs that leaks affected an investigation of a particular case and possibly dispensation of justice, despite court decisions saying they were not influenced by reports in the mass media.

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