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Cyprus

Betting giant given go-ahead to try and stop police probe

This would be the second injunction against the police brought by Opap

The supreme court on Monday gave the green light to betting giant Opap Cyprus to file for a second injunction to stop police investigations into its revenue stream.

According to Cyprus News Agency, Opap was given permission to file for a petition requesting the annulment of a second search warrant of the company’s premises by the Financial Crime Investigation Office which had been issued by the Nicosia district court last month.

The court, CNA said, also issued an injunction suspending the search warrant until the petition process has been completed and also suspended any current proceedings resulting from the warrant including the use and distribution of any data already received.

The probe into Opap’s revenue stream was launched after Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides, while looking into the agreement between the betting company and the state, reported that he had found information on suspicious financial transactions between Opap Cyprus and an individual living overseas.

This information was passed on to police, who opened an investigation.

On November 8, 2017 Opap secured an initial court injunction that stopped a first police search warrant. The injunction was issued after the court found fault with police procedures.

That temporarily stopped authorities from taking the investigation further. A month later, however, police were issued a second search warrant and the probe resumed.

Opap denies any wrongdoing and says it has nothing to hide.

Last week Opap said it had filed a complaint against the audit office to the police, the central bank and the personal data commissioner, claiming Michaelides had obtained financial data that was not publicly available. Therefore, Opap said, the Audit Office – in investigating the company – had acted illegally.

Michaelides said the information was obtained lawfully via a whistleblower.

 

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