The Minister of Finance and the Council of Ministers have acted unconstitutionally by choosing law firm Freshfields of London to provide legal services in the context of the transaction for the sale of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank to Hellenic Bank, said Attorney General Costas Clerides before the Audit Parliamentary Committee.
Finance Minister Haris Georgiadis who was present at the meeting dismissed the accusations by saying that the Council of Ministers followed all the procedures under the 2013 Recapitalization Decree of the Central Cooperative Bank, which gives the state the right to take decisions as a major shareholder of the CCB.
In explaining his position, Mr. Clerides referred to a decision by the government on the 4th of February 2015 that foresees that the selection and assignment of services to international law firms should be subject to prior approval by the Law Office of the Republic with prior consultation with the Treasury.
"What matters is not who will be burdened with the cost, what matters is that the firm has been chosen by the Finance Ministry without approval," said the Attorney General.
The Auditor-General stated that he expects the Ministry of Finance to explain the request, without the Attorney General being informed, as required by law.