Cyprus’ Attorney General Claims High Court Conflicts of Interest

Cyprus’ Attorney-General Costas Clerides. (Photo by law.gov.cy)

NICOSIA – Backing his lawyer brother’s assertion, Cyprus’ Attorney-General Costas Clerides charged that in two cases Supreme Court judges didn’t recuse themselves even though relatives worked worked at the law firm representing senior Bank of Cyprus officials.

Costas Clerides weighed in after his brother, Nicos, said what he called familial relationships had brought favorable rulings, which court officials rejected without explaining why the judges weren’t in conflict of interest.

AG Clerides said this should lead to “corrective steps instead of sweeping things under the carpet,” with family ties said to play an influencing role in the island’s politics.

The Supreme Court said said that in one case, AG Clerides himself didn’t seek the judges’ recusal and earlier said his brother’s allegations were unfounded and denigrating, giving a skewed picture of the judicial system and eroding trust.

The court said that it’s particularly careful to avoid conflict of interest, and bemoaned “blind, belligerent rhetoric” that erodes public trust.

The firm, Chrysafinis and Polyviou (C&P) said the allegations were an attempt to tarnish the firm’s name and the name of the “remarkable lawyers” working for it who “happen to be related” with Supreme Court members, the Cyprus Mail reported.

“Nicos Clerides’ claims are unfounded, in bad faith, and ultimately, slanderous and fully unacceptable,” the C&P statement said, adding that his letter to the Bar Association was “full of inaccuracies (not specified) and innuendos and clearly promotes ulterior objectives”.

“We note that employment of judges’ relatives by law firms is commonplace, not only in Cyprus but also abroad, and our office is just one of the law firms employing relatives of the judiciary now and in the past,” the statement also had said.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)