(Adds comment by AG Clerides in first paragraph)
By Stelios Orphanides
Attorney-general Costas Clerides said on Wednesday he had requested the suspension of senior attorney Eleni Loizidou from her post pending the outcome of a probe into her ties with Russia after the cabinet earlier approved his request to appoint an investigator.
Clerides, who on Monday transferred Loizidou from her post as head of the department of extradition of fugitives to other duties, said that he requested the Public Service Commission, tasked with overseeing appointments, promotions and disciplinary measures in the civil service, “to consider the possibility of the official being suspended” to facilitate the investigation until its completion, he said in a statement on the website of the Press and Information Office.
Hours earlier, the council of ministers decided to task Demetris Hadjicostis, head of the Department of Customs, to carry out a disciplinary investigation into possible wrongdoings by Loizidou, second in command at the Law Office. The cabinet followed a request submitted on Tuesday by the attorney-general who also ordered a data theft probe.
“(As) the investigation is beginning, and the government has nothing to add because it is couldn’t say anything as the investigation is underway,” deputy spokesman Victor Papadopoulos said. Papadopoulos added that he believed that the investigation will be completed within 60 days as provided by legislation.
In an interview with the Guardian, Loizidou denied any wrongdoing and said that she was also friendly with British and American colleagues.
“I have never received any presents from Russia except the occasional vodka and small chocolates,” she was quoted as saying in the Guardian report on Wednesday. “I have never lived with expensive taste. My salary is only €4,000 a month”.