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Supreme court throws out AG’s appeal in Bank of Cyprus case

The supreme court on Tuesday threw out an appeal filed by the attorney-general against the same court’s prior decision of December 6 last year concerning the second criminal case brought against Bank of Cyprus.

In its ruling, the top court said the attorney-general’s appeal was “devoid of purpose” and as such was being rejected.

The decision signals the definitive denouement in the second case against Bank of Cyprus and former executives.

The criminal case against the bank concerned the lender’s investments in toxic Greek government bonds and its alleged failure to inform shareholders of the dangers of the investment.

On December 6 the supreme court had found that the charge sheet filed by the state prosecution and relating to market manipulation was void.

Then on December 18 the Nicosia criminal court trying the case deferred to the supreme court’s decision and dismissed the charges against the defendants.

The criminal court ordered a stay of proceedings, where technically it did not acquit the defendants, as according to its ruling the charges never existed in the first place.

In the interim, on December 13, the attorney-general’s office appealed the supreme court’s decision of December 6.

However, the attorney-general did not also appeal the criminal court’s verdict.

In its decision on Monday, the supreme court said there was no purpose to the appeal, given that the case had already been dismissed by the criminal court.

It also rejected the attorney-general’s argument that the reason he did not challenge the criminal court’s decision of December 18 was because that ruling was a dismissal rather than an acquittal.

As such, argued Attorney-general Costas Clerides, he was unable legally to appeal a dismissal.

The supreme court disagreed, interpreting the law differently.

The defendants in the criminal trial, filed in September 2015, were Bank of Cyprus as a legal entity, plus former CEO Andreas Eliades, his deputy Yiannis Kypri, vice-chairman Andreas Artemis, and board members Yiorgos Georgiades, Costas Severis and Costas Hadjipapas.

 

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