Akel on Tuesday described as “reheated food” allegations that back in 2016 they had been lobbied by a pro-Russia group to introduce a motion in parliament calling for the lifting of European Union sanctions imposed on the Kremlin after the annexation of Crimea.
The allegations were brought forward by Disy MP Demetris Demetriou, citing a report by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
On Tuesday, Demetriou revealed that he has formally asked the head of the anti-corruption authority to look into the OCCRP report.
Demetriou said the OCCRP’s team of investigative reporters had uncovered that “a Russian lobby financed political parties in European countries so that they’d promote parliamentary resolutions on the Crimea issue.
“The countries mentioned include Cyprus, where claims are made about Akel’s involvement.”
The Disy lawmaker said it’s incumbent on the anti-corruption authority to investigate the matter.
“Restoring the good name of our country on such serious issues cannot be done in any other way except by refuting such reports, assuming they are not true.”
Responding, Akel attributed Demetriou’s move to politicking, but said they welcomed a probe.
“It’s clear that Disy, via Demetris Demetriou, is resorting to reheated food in order to divert attention from revelations concerning [former president] Nicos Anastasiades and his administration,” the party said.
Akel was alluding to fresh reports that Anastasiades’ former law firm is under investigation by the bar association in connection to the ‘golden passports’ scheme.
“The leadership in Disy has changed, but their practices remain the same. In any case, Akel has no problem with this matter [the Crimea resolution] being investigated, or whatever else Disy comes up with.”
According to the OCCRP story, published last month, a “secretive Moscow group cultivated ties with Cypriot politicians and successfully pushed through a motion in Cyprus’s parliament calling for an end to EU sanctions against Russia.”
The OCCRP cited “leaked emails” showing how the International Agency for Current Policy, a lobbying group run out of the Russian parliament, “worked with friendly Cypriot politicians to draft and pass a resolution to end sanctions on Russia.”
The journalists said they spoke with Dmitry Kozlov, a Russian businessman who obtained a Cypriot passport, who acknowledged he had connected “Russian propagandists with sympathetic Cypriot politicians to make the resolution happen.”
The passing of the resolution through the Cyprus parliament in July 2016 marked “a major PR coup” for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the OCCRP said.