A total of € 3.7 million was spent last year on legal battles fought by the Republic through private law firms, for cases involving financial disputes abroad. According to data sent to the Parliament, the Legal Service paid in 2020 the specific amount to foreign law firms and experts, in the context of international cases against the Republic for economic issues.
These are cases of international arbitration against Cyprus. At the request of the parliamentary Finance Committee, the Attorney General George Savvidis sent a letter to the Speaker of Parliament Adamos Adamou, in which details are recorded in relation to the payments made by the Legal Service. The funds paid for the defense of the Republic in international arbitration are the following:
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– An amount of € 2.75 million has been paid to the international law firm Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP. This amount concerns three cases against the Republic. These are the arbitrations “Theodoros Adamakopoulos and others”, “Alexander Nelin” and “Ayoub-Michel Farid Saab” against the Republic of Cyprus. The last case, concerning the claims of the two Lebanese nationals against the Republic, has been completed in favor of Cyprus. In January 2019, the French Arbitration Court ruled in favor of the Republic in relation to the FBME appeal against the decision of the Central Bank to take remedial measures against it, following a report by the US authorities, which implicated the bank in money laundering cases. money and terrorist financing. Ayoub-Farid Michel Saab and Fadi Michel Saab had filed a lawsuit under the bilateral Investment Protection Agreement between Lebanon and Cyprus, demanding $ 1.4 billion in compensation from the Republic.
– An amount of € 669 thousand was paid to the company Analysis Group Inc. The amount concerns the arbitration “Alexander Nelin and Theodoros Adamakopoulos against the Republic”.
– An amount of € 94,945 was paid to the expert Jean Pierre Fernand Landau for the case “Theodoros Adamakopoulos against the Republic”. The invoice was € 79,500, plus € 15,105 VAT.
– € 68,945 was awarded to the law firm Viguie Schmidt and Associes. The amount concerns the FBME case and the application for annulment of an arbitral award issued in favor of the Republic.
– Amount of € 138,888 to the International Arbitration Court International Center for settlement of investment disputes, for the case “Theodoros Adamakopoulos v. Democracy”.
As the Advocate General points out in his letter, the money paid to the foreign law firms came from funds of the budget of the Legal Service and specifically from the article “expenses of experts and witnesses”. At the same time, he notes that after consultation between the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance undertakes the collection from the Central of 50% of the total amount paid.