The independent anti-corruption authority will this week begin work on two cases it has prioritised, one of which may involve deputy attorney-general Savvas Angelides, it emerged on Monday.

The Cyprus Mail was able to confirm that the authority will start work on two files it has opened. It’s understood that, to date, altogether the authority has received around 110 complaints and has opened the corresponding number of files.

The paper also confirmed that the team of three experts – two British attorneys specialising in crime and a Cypriot lawyer – will be taking statements from witnesses during the week.

The three have been named as Giorgos Kambanellas, Tanveer Qureshi (the British nationals) and Giorgos Liasides.

They have been hired by the anti-corruption authority on a contract basis, believed to be short-term.

Summoned witnesses must appear under penalty of law. Statements are given under oath.

According to media reports, the list of witnesses includes auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides – the person who formally filed to the authority the two complaints under investigation. Michaelides acted as a conduit, relaying the information he had received from sources wishing to remain anonymous. He has already submitted documentation to the authority.

Other persons having received summons to testify include reportedly the deputy attorney-general and the former head of the Drug Squad Michalis Katsounotos.

The case involving Angelides relates to him suspending a prosecution against a person who was a former client of his law firm – suggesting a possible conflict of interest for the deputy AG.

Angelides’ law firm represented the person in question up until 2021, when Angelides was already serving as deputy AG – a position he was appointed to in June 2020.

The authority’s investigators will want to know whether, for example, as a lawyer Angelides had personally represented the person against whom the prosecution was dropped.

The person is currently being held at the central prisons, awaiting trial on the charge of attempted murder – in a separate case. Reports said he will be interviewed by the anti-corruption authority’s experts at the central prisons.

Earlier, media had suggested that one of the first cases the authority would dig into, would be the one likewise involving potential conflict of interest for the deputy AG – namely relating to the Israeli ‘spy van’ affair where the attorney-general’s office had suspended prosecutions citing the public interest, which was never defined or adequately explained.

The Cyprus Mail learns that the ‘spy van’ case is not among the two cases now being pursued by the authority’s three-man team of experts. The case however is still on file.

The second case currently being pursued is said to be that involving Katsounotos, ex-head of the Drug Squad. This has to do with the affair involving Katsounotos and the former governor of the central prisons Anna Aristotelous.

Aristotelous had alleged that Katsounotos attempted to obtain ‘compromising material’ on her through an inmate at the prisons. A subsequent investigation pointed to Katsounotos’ guilt, but the attorney-general’s office did not press charges. However, Katsounotos could still face disciplinary sanctions under a separate process.

Once the anti-corruption authority has completed a report, it forwards its findings to the attorney-general’s office. The latter is not bound to act on the authority’s findings.

But the authority reserves the right to make its findings public. To date, that hasn’t been put to the test.

The body may investigate any public official, from the president down to municipal councilors. It can open a file based either on eponymous or anonymous complaints. It can also investigate any person in the private sector, if that person has had dealings with the public sector.

Established in July last year, the authority’s budget comes to approximately €1 million, its staff consisting of seconded civil servants.