Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides on Friday brushed aside criticism that his office has done nothing in the wake of the Pandora Papers reveals, noting that criminal cases need to be based on hard and verifiable data.
“It must be understood by all that, in order for criminal investigations to commence, what is required is the proper legal background to meet certain conditions, to secure court orders or to activate mutual judicial assistance processes,” Savvides said in a statement.
The AG recalled that on October 26 – a day before the House ethics committee discussed the Pandora leaks which allegedly implicate two Cypriot law firms – he and the police chief chaired a broad meeting that included finance ministry officials, tax officials and officials from the anti-money laundering unit.
“There, I gave explicit instructions to all authorities to keep us informed on everything relating to the Pandora Papers that they have looked into, be it concerning judicial assistance requests or otherwise.”
The latter reference related to the fact that, during the House ethics committee session, police said they have received from another country a request regarding the person suspected of moving €115m through Cyprus. A police representative declined to provide more details citing confidentiality reasons.
The attorney-general’s office, Savvides went on, has asked the bar association – currently investigating the two law firms named in the document dump – to keep it apprised and indicate whether their administrative probe also points to “suspicion about activities of a potentially criminal nature.”
The notion propagated in some media that the attorney-general has remained idle is therefore false, Savvides said.
Whatever actions his office is taking are being done quietly, without publicity, he noted.
The two Cypriot firms named in the papers are the one founded by President Nicos Anastasiades, which still bears his name, and the other, Demetris Demetriades.
A resolution by the European Parliament last week called for an in-depth investigation by member states into politicians whose names appear in the Pandora Papers, with the draft specifically mentioning Anastasiades and other current and former political leaders.
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