27 April 2014 19:00

There is no evidence of criminal offences behind revelations that Cyprus' two biggest political parties received donations from Greek shipping company Focus Maritime, the Attorney General has ruled.
"Nothing incriminating has been found so far but investigations are continuing," Costas Klerides  told Sigma TV.
There was uproar last week over revelations that Opposition Akel and ruling Disy received over a million and a half euros in donations in 2007-2008 from Focus.
Focus belongs to Michalis Zolotas - a close associate of bankrupt Laiki Bank's top man Andreas Vgenopoulos who is strongly linked with last year's collapse of the island's banking sector.
Focus is said to have substantial non-performing loans in Cyprus.
Left-wing Akel indirectly received €1.5 million and right-wing Disy a total of €50,000 and not €500,000 as originally reported in daily Politis.
Klerides also said Zolotas will be questioned and that there are some accounts in Greece that need to be looked into but approval is needed first form the Greek authorities. The scandal has strengthened calls for political party financing transparency and immediate implementation of the Council of Europe's GRECO report which demands detailed documentation of donations.
Disy admitted it received the €50,000 donation just before the presidential elections of February 2008 but that it had no idea it came from Focus.  
But rather from six different Cyprus-affiliated shipping tycoons based in the UK and Greece and assured that the Focus money - that is cash belonging to collapsed Laiki Bank depositors will be given back. Disy went as far as to draft a bill on party funding that it plans to table before parliament for a debate and vote on May 8. The draft legislation provides for the appointment of a commissioner for the auditing of revenue and expenses of all parties.
As for Akel, it insists that the whole scandal was just another smear campaign against the party.  And that those who have spread similar allegations in the past must also prove them - otherwise they will be left exposed. At the same time, other parties repeated calls on the Attorney General's office to release information and details on the Focus donations.
Former governing coalition centre Diko issued a statement saying that explanations given by both Akel and Disy are an insult to the intelligence of voters.
 


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