3 ex-judges to probe illegal banking activities in South

Three former Supreme Court judges have been sworn in at the South Cyprus Presidential Palace today.

Their task is to investigate possible civil, criminal or political liabilities linked to activities in the South Cyprus banking sector and economy within three months, with the possibility of extending their inquiries for a further three months if necessary.

The commission will be chaired by former Supreme Court President and former member of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Georgios Pikis. The other two members, both former Supreme Court Judges are, Panayiotis Kallis and Yiannakis Constantinides.

Speaking during the swearing in ceremony, President Anastasiades said that the appointment of the commission is something “the state owes to the people”. He added that the present situation is the result of a combination of factors, actions or omissions by people who were in charge of handling the economy and the banking sector. These, he added, have led the country to near collapse and caused the demise of one of Cyprus’ largest banks.

The President asked the commission to investigate as a priority and with great rigour any direct or indirect claims relating to diverting funds abroad which concern him personally or his immediate family. He also asked the commission to extend its inquiry to transactions by the law firm he was partner to until recently, before assuming his duties as President in February this year.

Anastasiades is under fire after reports emerged that a company run by a member of his family withdrew deposits from the South ahead of its bailout

“Innocent compatriots of ours are called to bear the consequences” the President said, adding that the people are justly asking for retribution.

Finally, the President praised the members of the commission for offering their services to the country, without pay.

Speaking on behalf of the investigative commission, Mr Pikis pledged to carry out their duties in full, adding that this is something they owe to all people.

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