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Akel says president still not setting record straight over law firm allegations

Former Interior Minister Eleni Mavrou said the government spokesman is commenting on everything else except the contentious issues

Main opposition Akel on Thursday again called on President Nicos Anastasiades to come clean on reports his law firm was linked to alleged shell companies that engaged in shady dealings.

Eleni Mavrou, a member of the Akel’s Political Bureau, said neither the president nor the government have addressed the allegations head-on more than a week after they surfaced.

“Seemingly the government spokesman is lost in translation, commenting on everything else except the contentious issues,” she said in a statement.

“If, as they claim, their concern is to protect Cyprus from quarters who are out to taint the island’s reputation, why do they not respond and set the record straight?”

Mavrou in particular asked for clarifications on whether a company by the name of Gotland Industrial Inc was tied to Anastasiades’ former law firm, as alleged by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in a report last week.

The OCCRP report implied connections between Anastasiades, his law firm and the so-called Troika Laundromat.

Citing leaked records of the now-defunct Lithuanian Ukio Bankas, the OCCRP said that during the period when Anastasiades was a partner at the firm, it facilitated transactions carried out by four companies who were major players in the Troika Laundromat.

It said two of those shells – Batherm Ventures Ltd. and Matias Co Ltd – had sent more than $323 million into the system for various reasons, mostly unknown.

Other leaked documents appeared to show that Matias Co Ltd was a subsidiary of Batherm. They purportedly show that Matias Co Ltd. was created with the help of Anastasiades’ former law firm.

“The service provider that served as its initial shareholder and director, Imperium Nominees Ltd., is today owned in equal proportion by Philippou and Lemis, the [Anastasiades] law firm’s managing partners, as well as President Anastasiades’ two daughters, Elsa and Ino.”

In connection to this, the OCCRP went on to cite a leaked sales contract apparently showing that Batherm and Matias jointly agreed in February 2007 to buy Energostroyinvest-Holding, then Russia’s largest builder of electrical networks and thermal power plants.

According to the OCCRP,  the $220 million purchase price – paid to Gotland Industrial Inc., one of the three core companies of the Troika Laundromat – was far below Energostroy’s estimated value of $2 billion just four years later.

The OCCRP did note that it found no actual evidence of criminality by the Anastasiades law firm.

Responding, the government has repeatedly dismissed the report as libellous and unsubstantiated.

 

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