Cyprus Mail

Former BoC exec asks for acquittal, citing right to a fair trial

Nicosia court

A former Bank of Cyprus executive asked the Nicosia criminal court on Thursday to acquit him of all charges on the grounds that his right to a fair trial was being violated.

Nicolas Karidas, one of the remaining defendants in the third criminal trial against the bank, argued that he should be cleared for the same reason as two previous defendants previously were.

He was referring to former bank CEO Andreas Eliades and his deputy, Yiannis Kypri, both acquitted in December last year after the criminal court accepted a pretrial motion, which argued that the charges against them had the same basis as two previous trials regarding the BoC, in which the two executives had been acquitted.

That decision was upheld by the supreme court, after which lawyers representing the remaining defendants submitted a similar motion on behalf of their clients, citing the precedent.

In court on Thursday, Karidas said his continued involvement– including 28 pretrial hearings so far – violates his right to a fair trial as he can no longer afford to hire an attorney due to the protracted duration of the proceedings.

He also claimed he had been deceived into incriminating himself during the course of two depositions he provided to police where investigators did not properly advise him that anything he said could be used against him in a court of law.

Karidas alleged that as a result of the information he provided police, he was later summoned as a witness for the prosecution in the second trial against Bank of Cyprus that was filed in 2015.

However, the same information was subsequently used by authorities to indict him in the third – now ongoing – trial.

The current case – filed January 2017 – concerns Karidas and former bank executives Christis Hadjimitsis, Christodoulos Patsalides, Eliza Livadiotou and Despina Kyriakidou who face charges of conspiring to reclassify the lender’s holdings in Greek bonds – with an effective date of April 1, 2010 – with intent to defraud investors.

The bonds were reclassified in a manner as to indicate the bank had suffered fewer losses than it actually did, conveying a better picture of its financials.

The defendants face 16 charges including forgery, circulation of a forged document, market manipulation, drafting false accounts, and conspiracy to defraud. They have all pleaded not guilty.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 7, when Karidas is to be cross-examined by the prosecution.

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