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Cyprus

AG’s brother summoned by Bar to substantiate supreme court slur

The supreme court in Nicosia

The brother of the attorney-general has been summoned by the Bar Association to substantiate his allegations that the supreme court has been captured by a prominent law firm.

Nicos Clerides, an attorney himself, must now appear before the body and explain his remarks.
Should the Bar Association deem his explanation unsatisfactory, he may be liable to disciplinary proceedings.

The supreme court earlier said it considers Clerides’ comments defamatory. Weighing in, the justice minister has said Clerides must either substantiate his claims or else publicly retract.

Clerides’ outburst in early December followed the acquittal of two former bank executives by the criminal court.

He was responding to comments made by another lawyer on Facebook criticising the adequacy of his brother, Attorney-general Costas Clerides.

“Our courts are controlled by the Polyviou and Chrysafinis law firm,” Clerides wrote.
“There is not a single supreme court judge who does not have a child at the law office that promotes the banks’ interests,” Clerides wrote of the firm, which represents Bank of Cyprus.

Using expletives, Clerides also posted: “The nomenklatura and the nepotism… does indeed exist, but the only ones fighting it are the attorney-general and the auditor-general.

“Sadly, this nepotism has expanded to the judiciary.”

It appears there are at least three lawyers working at the same law firm with links to the supreme court.

One is Polyviou’s daughter Chloe who is married to Michael Kramvis, son of a former supreme court judge. Two other female lawyers are the daughters of two supreme court judges.

In the days following his initial remarks that landed him in trouble, Clerides made further comments to back up his assertion that the supreme court is impeachable.

He cited a judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, dated January 9, 2018, which found that the petitioner, a former Cyprus Airways pilot, had not received a fair trial by the supreme court in Cyprus.

According to Clerides, the European court found fault with the prior appeals process lodged by the man before the supreme court. The reason was that one of the three judges on the bench did not disclose prior to the hearings that his son was married to the daughter of a partner in the law firm representing Cyprus Airways in court.

Three months after the ECHR ruling, the supreme court in Cyprus issued a regulation by which it prohibited a judge to hear, whether alone or with other judges, a court case where any attorney is a family member.

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