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    The lawyer Anastasiades and Ryan Air

    "I will resign if I am found to be involved in the sale of Cyprus Airways."

    “I will resign if I am found to be involved in the sale of Cyprus Airways.” In this way, in November 2014, a written statement by President Nicos Anastasiades was presented by a section of the media.

    Anastasiades had chosen to respond as above to reports that brought him and his law firm of interests (“Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and partners”) to be involved in the process of expression of interest in the purchase of Cyprus Airways, acting on behalf of Ryan Air.

    Except that the aforementioned Anastasiades statement was not accompanied by… solemn confirmation. A report by the Audit Office of South Cyprus on the whole issue (26/01/2015) left shadows in relation to the role played by the law firm of the Anastasiades family and his involvement in promoting the interests of the foreign airline. Perhaps the term “shadows” is also forerous.

    How are the key facts?

    Ryan Air was one of the nine companies that on 3 September 2014 submitted an offer for the purchase of Cyprus Airways. In its proposal, Ryan Air included as their legal advisor the legal profession “Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners, Cyprus”…

    It was later clarified that the agreement between Ryan Air and the law firm of interests of Anastasiades (his daughters Elsa and Ino have 50% of the shares) was formalized on September 21, 2014.

    However, as Anastasiades himself had made clear in an official way, as soon as he realized that the office he had established was involved in an attempt by a foreign investor to buy Cyprus Airways, he gave instructions to withdraw from the legal representation of Ryan Air. This was done on 30 September.

    The office “Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and partners”, he confirmed with an official statement the above…

    They participated covertly

    However, the issue was not to have a happy ending for Cypriot society. As it emerged from the audit report, a month later (31/10/2014), two lawyers of the law firm established by Anastasiades, participated covertly in a meeting of representatives of Ryan Air with the state’s negotiating team (Negotiation Committee) for the sale of Cyprus Airways.

    According to the audit report, in the minutes of this meeting, which took place on October 31, 2014, reference was made to the participants, namely the lawyer “Nikolas Christakis” and the lawyer “Maria Kom. Roussou». Based on EY’s findings, they were Nikolas Christofinis and Maria Komodromou, lawyers of the law firm founded by the Anastasiades (“Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners”)..

    “There are no lawyers…”

    In point “45” of the Audit Office’s report, it was noted: “On 31 October 2014, meetings were held between ED, Cyprus Airways, and the company’s financial and legal advisors, with the two interested investors.

    The meeting with Ryan Air was attended by the lawyer Mr. Sotiris Pittas of the law firm Soteris Pittas & Co LLC, as legal advisor to Ryan Air, flanked by three other persons who appeared to be executives of his law firm and who recorded their name on the list of attendees as Pitta Maria, Nikolas Christakis and Maria Kom. Roussou.

    From official data of the Cyprus Bar Association it seems that there are no lawyers named Nikolas Christakis and Maria Kom. Roussou but Christofinis Nikolas and Maria Komodromou.

    On the website of the law firm Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners they are both seen as employees in this office. Mr. Sotiris Pittas and Mrs. Maria Pitta are seen on the website of the law firm Soteris Pittas & Co LLC as employees of this office.

    “A matter of ethical ethics”

    In the penultimate point (’75’) of the Special Report of the Audit Office, there was a question of ethical ethics for ‘cooking’ with names.

    We present the following statement: “The action of the law firm ‘Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and associates’ to undertake the legal representation of the Ryan Air were legal for the office, but it created a matter of moral ethics and should not have been done, especially since the President of the Republic had explicitly agreed with the office (in which two of his associates are his daughters) that the law firm under the name ‘Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and associates will not accept the representation of anyone whose represented interests depend on the decisions of the government.

    Consequently, the office did not act correctly, just as it did not act at all rightly when, at the meeting of 31 October 2014 with the Negotiation Committee, it considered it appropriate to make available to the law office of Mr. Sotiris Pittas two lawyers of the office ‘Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and partners’, who refrained from revealing their real employer”.

    They read the exhibition and saw the glass half full…

    Moreover, with the publication of the results of the investigation of the Audit Office of South Cyprus (26/01/2015), many were quick to report that nothing repressible was detected in relation to the efforts of Ryan Air to invest in the national carrier. “Clean the President for KA” was one of the characteristic headlines used to announce the news…

    Some woke up from hibernation a day later. Their… awakened a written complaint of the well-known lawyer Eleni Vrachimi (27/01/2015), who denounced the law firm “Nikos Ch. Anastasiades and associates”, but also the action of his two lawyers to use misleading information about their identity.

    The addressee of the complaint was the then-Attorney General Costas Clerides, who in turn requested the report of the Audit Office, in order to study it in order to determine whether criminal liability arises for anyone.

    There was also a reaction from Anastasiades himself. As stated by the then government spokesman and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Christodoulides, Anastasiades had himself sent a letter to the attorney general, asking him to investigate the possibility of disciplinary or criminal offenses regarding his involvement in the negotiations for the sale of Cyprus Airways to “Ryan Air”.

    The issue of Ryan Air’s lawyers at the controversial meeting of October 2014 was also investigated by the Cyprus Bar Association. He had even appointed an investigating officer. Nothing was announced about his investigation.

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