All charges against defendants dismissed in Bank of Cyprus second criminal case

All charges against defendants in a criminal case against the Bank of Cyprus as a legal entity, and six former officials of the bank� Andreas Eliades, Andreas Artemi, Giorgos Georgiades, Costas Severis, Yiannis Kypri and Costas Hadjipapas were dimissed on Monday.

This was the second court case in relation to the bank. It is related to the acquisition of Greek government bonds and the bank’s failure to inform its shareholders of the risks of such an investment, which cost the lender billions in losses after a haircut of the bonds in 2012. The case was registered on 25 September 2015.

The indictment included six charges. Four charges concerned market manipulation and two charges concerned perjury. Eliades was facing all six charges while all other defendants were facing charges concerning market manipulation.

The Assize Court in Nicosia decided to comply with a certiorari order issued by the Supreme Court on 6 December. The Supreme Court Judge Yiasemis Yiasemi issued a certiorari order on an earlier decision of the Assize Court that has to do with the legal basis of the indictment, accepting the position of the defendants that there were obvious legal errors in the Assize Court’s decision. The Assize Court is obliged to follow the Supreme’s court order.

After the announcement of the new decision and following instructions by the Attorney General, state prosecutor Polina Efthivoulou proceeded to suspend Andreas Eliades prosecution for the charges concerning perjury.

She, however, noted that “the position of the Attorney General will be re-examined”. The positions of the Prosecutor is that the dismissal of charges is not an acquittal and therefore, for all the charges, the case may re-open.

The state prosecutor forwarded a request from the Attorney General to postpone the present proceedings so that the appeal against the certiorari can be completed. She informed the Court that an appeal against the Supreme Courts ruling has already been filed and is set for January 11, 2018, for instructions. Efthivoulou argued that if the proceedings were interrupted, the Court of Appeal is likely to consider that the attempt to overturn the order issued by Yiasemi, was only an academic one.

The defence lawyers pointed out the supremacy of a higher courts decision against a lower court and the fact that any continuation of the procedure would constitute a violation of the defendants fundamental rights.

Source: Cyprus News Agency