Deputy attorney-general Savvas Angelides on Monday delivered a stinging verbal attack on the auditor-general, whom he accused of a deliberate and concerted campaign to blacken his name, vowing that he would no longer put up with this situation.

Angelides lashed out after the latest allegations came out concerning him. The allegations related to him not pressing charges against someone who had been a client of his law firm in the past – before Angelides became deputy AG.

This allegation was forwarded to the anti-corruption authority by the audit office. It seems it was the last straw for Angelides, as the audit office has – by its own admission – relayed four complaints to the anti-corruption during the past couple of weeks.

The audit office says it was merely the recipient of, and conduit for, these allegations being forwarded to the anti-corruption body.

In a written statement, the deputy AG said public criticism of officials is part of democracy, adding that “as a person in public office I respected and tolerated countless cases where serial mudslinging and unethical and unsubstantiated rumour-mongering smeared my name, my dignity and my reputation.

“But it appears that my low-key attitude has been misunderstood as weakness. There is a limit for everything, and now my tolerance for the things they wrongly accuse me of, on a daily basis, has come to an end.”

Angelides directed his ire at the audit office, its spokesperson, the auditor-general himself, members of the auditor-general’s family, and the auditor-general’s so-called ‘support group’ on social media. He said these quarters were engaged in a “campaign” which amounted to a “deliberate effort” to paint him as a corrupt official.

“Unless this dangerous behaviour stops, we [meaning public officials] become fair game for abuse by bad-faith actors. From the very first moment I was aware that because…our decisions affect the interests of third parties, I would always be in the crosshairs.”

Angelides denied any wrongdoing, noting that he and his colleagues at the attorney-general’s office work “within the law, honestly, objectively and professionally.”

His outburst came after the latest allegations doing the rounds on the internet. Allegedly, Angelides had in the past served as the attorney of someone who was a ‘person of interest’ for the police’s drug squad. In 2022 Angelides stayed a prosecution against this person. The name of drug squad chief Michalis Katsounotos was mentioned in this context.

This may be linked to the affair where the attorney-general’s office decided against bringing charges against Katsounotos, whom the ex-prisons director Anna Aristotelous accused of spying on her and trying to frame her. Subsequently the attorney-general’s office also refused to give the green light to two private criminal prosecutions which Aristotelous’ lawyers wanted to file against Katsounotos.

Earlier in the day, spokesman for the audit office Marios Petrides confirmed to the state broadcaster that four complaints relating to the attorney-general’s office were sent to them over the past two weeks.

Petrides said that two weeks ago, the audit office received and forwarded to the anti-corruption authority a complaint relating to allegations about Angelides’ conduct concerning the case of the Israeli ‘spy van’.

And last week, three more complaints arrived at the audit office. One related to investigations into the tax matters of a company whose directors “exercise public influence.” This case, said Petrides, is based on findings of the audit office itself, and concerned the ‘golden passports’.

Another case related to ‘abuse of power’ in terms of the attorney-general’s office suspending prosecutions. This was the case pertaining to the drug squad.

And yet another case was “of a similar nature:”

Petrides said the Audit Office acted merely as an “intermediary” for the complaints, and that it does not itself make accusations against anyone.

Following Angelides’ intervention, the audit office hit back with a statement of its own.

“We stress that our agency is not under the custody of the attorney-general, or his deputy,” it read.

“Nor do we need their permission to inform the public on matters that come to light. And we will not be gagged by anyone who makes threats and speaks of a ‘deliberate targeting attempt’, of ‘abuse’ and ‘bad-faith actors’, or that these things need to ‘stop’.”

Regarding Angelides’ reference to members of the auditor-general’s family, the statement said this alludes to the auditor-general’s 25-year-old son who takes to social media criticising the deputy AG.

The two agencies have tussled on several occasions in the past, on various issues. Their previous spat came only last week in parliament. The attorney-general’s office frequently accuses Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides of going beyond his remit.