Attorney-general Costas Clerides has criticised as ‘hopeless’ a headline in daily Politis on Saturday, after the newspaper said he had long been aware supreme court president Myron Nicolatos had settled cases involving his daughter and sister out of court.
“Unfortunately, in the hopeless effort of some to justify the unjustifiable, they channel to the newspaper Politis information leading to misleading and arbitrary conclusions,” Clerides said on Saturday.
The article said that Clerides knew about the deal given to Nicolatos’ daughter back in 2015, and that the agreement had been signed by a lawyer from his office on his behalf.
According to Clerides, the fact that in December 2015 a lawyer from his office signed the agreement to withdraw Nicolatos’ daughter’s appeal, which the attorney-general said was also filed against the state, did not mean that the plaintiff received preferential treatment.
The daily claimed that Clerides also never mentioned the issue in 2018 when the appeal of the Bank of Cyprus and its former CEO Andreas Eliades was being examined.
“The agreement for the withdrawal of the appeal, does not have any information as to how much was agreed or paid in any recompense, or any other detail,” Clerides said in his statement.
Clerides added that never in such cases or any other similar cases, is the attorney-general requested to give his personal approval, as he is not informed in advance.
The issue arose, when it was discovered that Nicolatos’ daughter and sister were given out of court settlements.
Clerides said that the real issue was not that he was not aware of the issue, as he was not required to be, but that Nicolatos, who was aware, never recused himself nor brought the issue up during the examination of the Eliades case.
Critics of Nicolatos have focused on the fact that his daughter and sister appeared to have benefited from out-of-court settlements with Bank of Cyprus (BoC) relating to lawsuits they had filed concerning the conversion of their deposits into bonds.
Nicolatos had adjudicated in an appeal filed by former BoC CEO Andreas Eliades who had been jailed for market manipulation.
In a 2 to 1 decision, the three-bench court found that Bank of Cyprus and Eliades, although they had made false representations about the financial status of the bank, did not do so with intent to manipulate the market but rather to ‘reassure’ shareholders.
That decision was criticised by attorney-general Costas Clerides and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In statements earlier this week, Clerides directly pointed the finger at Nicolatos, saying it was his vote that swung the decision in Eliades’ and the BoC’s favour when there was a conflict of interest because his daughter and sister had benefited from an out-of-court settlement in a separate lawsuit they had filed against the bank, relating to claims they made concerning the conversion of their deposits into bonds.