Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Former top cop to plead not guilty to leaking information

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolou with former deputy police chief Andreas Kyriacou

Former deputy police chief Andreas Kyriacou will be pleading not guilty to charges filed against him at Nicosia district court over allegedly leaking classified information to the press, his lawyer Andros Pelecanos said on Monday.

The information concerns two separate cases – a 2015 internal police report on preventing and combating corruption, and the second, the way police handled a tip off from Serbian Interpol about information they had for a possible murder attempt on Ayia Napa businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis.

Although Kalopsidiotis was murdered in June 2016, a leak to the media last year said police had been alerted as early as March that an assassination attempt was going to take place and that it failed to take measures.

In fact, the officer in Cyprus receiving the information had mistakenly called the man believed to be the mastermind behind the contract killing, apparently thinking he was calling Serbian Interpol. This alerted the man who called off the hit.

Kyriacou was fired by President Nicos Anastasiades after Attorney-General Costas Clerides announced he appeared to have been behind both unauthorised leaks.

During Monday’s court session, however, Pelecanos first argued that the prosecution had withheld witness material from him including two internal police investigations on the Interpol leaks as well as the findings on police corruption.

The charge sheet filed in court includes three charges; for breach of confidentiality in relation to the contents of the Interpol Nicosia case, and for the dissemination and leakage of classified information in connection with the contents of the Interpol Nicosia files. The third charge concerns breach of confidentiality in relation to a January 2015 study on the prevention and handling of corruption in the Cyprus Police.

Pelecanos argued that if Kyriacou had indeed been behind the leaks, then if the prosecution knew the identity of the recipient of the information, the person should have been called to give a statement.

Additionally, according to the defence, Kyriacou only got his hands on the Interpol documents two days after media had published the information thus there was no way he could have been behind the leak.

Specifically, Pelecanos said Kyriacou received the file on July 27, 2016 but media reports had been published on July 25, 2016 and April 28, 2016.

“We cannot understand why they refuse to give us all the material,” Pelecanos said, adding that if the request is denied then he will ask the court to issue an order requiring them to hand the material to Pelecanos.

The indictment lists 27 witnesses, including Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou.

Two internal investigations by police could not identify the person behind the leaks, however findings by three independent criminal investigators, used by the AG to draw his conclusions, pointed to Kyriacou.

The case will resume on August 30.

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