According to emails leaked by a blogspot, senior attorney Eleni Loizidou apparently solicited the support of Russian officials for her candidacy as judge on the European court of Human Rights, while elsewhere she claimed the European Union was out to “destroy” Cyprus’ relations with Russia.
The email dump by the website cogroup.blogspot.com.cy features two download links connecting to the Russian search engine Yandex.ru.
The links purport to contain some 19,000 emails involving correspondence between Loizidou and other officials at the attorney-general’s office with their Russian counterparts.
In one email (September 30, 2015) to Vladimir Zimin, the deputy head of the department for international cooperation at the Russian prosecutor general’s office, Loizidou writes: “Dear Vladimir, Really missed you in Strasbourg at the Mod…. I will probably be put in the new shortlist of three candidates for the post of Cypriot judge of ECtHR.
“Hope Russia will be voting at the Parliamentary Assembly at the elections in January. Even though, after this victory with Konovalova, the NGO’s will make sure nobody votes for me. But I am very happy for winning the case for you, anyway.”
In another missive (March 20, 2017) to Alexander Khaliulin of the Academy of prosecution General of the Russian Federation she observes: “This is a very difficult time for Cyprus. EU wants to destroy our good relations with Russia. I do hope that together your country and mine will solve the problem.”
And in a February 2016 email to a man named Piotr – who apparently works at the Russian prosecutor general’s office – Loizidou seems to be requesting help for a legal workaround for the extradition of a Russian national who has acquired Cypriot nationality.
It reads: “With Kuchucheva I need urgently to be informed whether the Russian Federation extradites Russian nationals because if you don’t then we might have a problem extraditing her as she has acquired the Cypriot nationality. According to article 26(3) of the European Convention on Extradition a country which deposits a reservation may not ask for the application of the same provisions by another state.
“Of course we could argue that Russia did not file a reservation but a Declaration. How do you approach this matter?”
Some of Loizidou’s emails were sent from a private account. On whether her and others’ use of private emails to conduct official business is irregular or illegal, sources apprised of the matter told the Cyprus Mail that “use of Gmail is widespread but irregular.
“The hacking is very serious as well as the republication of communications with foreign authorities and internal affairs of a state Law Office including with the AG,” the sources said.
As for Loizidou’s remark pointing to hostility from NGOs, the same sources surmised: “Some NGOs disliked giving evidence to Russians so they would not favour her as ECHR judge.”
The NGOs aspect is highlighted in a blog apparently operated by Loizidou’s son, who it is understood also works at the attorney-general’s office.
The post, dated November 26, is titled ‘4 points of frustration around the Eleni Loizidou ‘corruption scandal’ / My mom got hacked and they say she’s really dodgy!’
It states: “The NGO point is especially interesting: I’ve been trying to get her to start connecting the dots formally, and do something about shady NGO business for a while now. Maybe now she or others will have additional reason to do so.”
Elsewhere, the blogger seeks to defend his embattled mother: “Years ago, when Google seemed nicer than it does now, I insisted that she use gmail for her work: she needed a reliable and efficient cloud-based system that she’d have access to while travelling. The leak isn’t of personal emails sent from an account other than her official one.
“These are official emails sent from a gmail account because access to government email is impossible on the go. And because government information services have crap usability, I steered her wrong. I feel like this is my fault.”
The blogger also offers speculation as to where the website leaking the emails may have originated: “Unlike what’s been reported, a friend tells me it’s wrong to conclude that the blogspot was created from Cyprus: blogspot changes the country code top-level domain depending on where you visit the site from.
“According to friends, the use of blogspot and Yandex suggests that this isn’t a tech-community hack. The type of legal analysis provided in the same post also points at interests disconnected from the hacker community.”
The blogger then leaves a cryptic remark: “She’s [Loizidou] just back from a meeting of extradition experts in Strasbourg where the Browder case was also discussed, which seems quite relevant to all this.”
This apparently alludes to American-English financier Bill Browder who in September filed an application for an emergency injunction at Nicosia District Court in a bid to force Cypriot authorities to stop their cooperation with Russia in a case launched against him.