Cyprus Mail

Christodoulides’ team remains tight lipped over €200,000 donation

cyprus presidential candidate nikos christodoulides waves to supporters during a pre election rally in nicosia
Presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides

The election campaign team of Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday failed to comment on reports the candidate received a one-time transfer of €200,000 into his bank account, even though the allegation prompted Akel-backed Andreas Mavroyiannis to release a breakdown of his campaign’s funding.

Over the weekend, daily Politis ran a story alleging they have seen evidence of a €200,000 transfer into the personal bank account of Christodoulides. The transfer, dated July 27, 2022 was made into a Hellenic Bank branch in Limassol.

The source of the funds was Columbia Shipmanagement Ltd – an international ship management and maritime service provider based in Limassol.

Politis did not publish the bank account number, out of respect for Christodoulides’ personal data. But the daily insisted its information was genuine.

The paper decided to come out with the story, having earlier given the Christodoulides camp several days to respond. The latter neither denied nor confirmed the information.

On Tuesday the Politis journalist who broke the story said Christodoulides’ team had not responded.

As it stands, the law does not specify a ceiling on the amount of election campaign donations per se but states that a candidate may ‘use’ (meaning, spend) up to €1 million. It’s understood, however, that in practice the main presidential candidates typically far exceed this limit.

Politis noted that Christodoulides’ silence on the matter raises more questions. It recalled how the candidate said during a televised debate on January 11 this year that he had received “not a single cent” from the political parties backing him. Christodoulides was effectively denying the notion that he had “dependencies,” insisting he was a “non-systemic candidate.”

The day after the debate, Diko, Edek and Dipa each put out statements saying they had not contributed one euro to Christodoulides’ campaign, nor had they tapped into the state grant given to political parties.

Meanwhile Christodoulides’ official campaign website features a donations button. Back in May of 2022, the candidate himself said that “any member of the public can donate anywhere from €10 to €1,000 if he or she desires.” The image projected by Christodoulides is that of a campaign being crowd-funded by small donations.

Politis said the discovery of the €200,000 transfer from a single company puts into question that contention.

The issue of transparency in campaign financing was raised by independent candidate Giorgos Colocassides, also the first to publish a breakdown of his funding. He called on the rest to do the same.

On Tuesday, Mavroyiannis released a list of individuals and companies donating to his campaign amounts of €10,000 and above.

His team also said they’d hand the full list of donors to the Chief Returning Officer and the auditor-general.

“For Andreas Mavroyiannis,” read a statement, “transparency and accountability are not mere slogans.”

According to the table of donations released, to date Mavroyiannis got €510,000 from Akel, plus €408,000 from “other donors” (amounts over €10,000).

The “other donors” include an individual named Andreas Rialas (€55,000), a company called Masterstar Trading Ltd (€50,000), and the Cyprus Union of Shipowners (€50,000).

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