AG audit boss in war of words with Opap

first_imgBy Peter MichaelBOTH the attorney-general and the auditor-general faced-off with Opap on Wednesday, slamming as ‘offensive’ accusations by the Greek lottery giant that the auditor-general had violated the law and saying they had reported him to the police and to supervisory watchdogs.Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides previously pointed to problematic clauses in the Cyprus-Greece interstate agreement, where the theoretical, as opposed to real, winnings paid out to winners, are deducted from Opap’s annual revenues before the dues to the state are calculated. As a result, the state was losing some €12 million a year in potential additional earnings from the deal, he said.Earlier on Wednesday at a news conference, Opap fired the first volley saying it had reported Michaelides to the police, the Data Protection Commissioner and the Central Bank for the alleged violation of laws regarding data protection, banking secrecy and interception of the company’s communications by the Cypriot authorities.In a dig at the attorney-general, the Greek company said that in March 2017, Opap Cyprus only found out through the media that Costas Clerides had ordered a police investigation into its operations on the island as the accountant-general had been unable to examine the company’s financial data.Opap’s position is that the auditor-general has no right to investigate private companies and it claims it has been on the receiving end of “unfair and unsubstantiated accusations.”  As far as police were concerned, they did not contact the company for the purposes of any investigation, it added.The attorney-general fired back at the gambling giant, saying: “Any implication regarding incomplete and/or non-objective investigation of claims is unacceptable and offensive to the [Cypriot] authorities and institutions, which should not be pressured and intimidated while carrying out the tasks assigned to them.”According to an announcement from the betting agency, a complaint was filed with the police on November 29 regarding the alleged wrongful actions of the auditor-general.  Opap added that six days later they received an answer from the police, which said that the attorney-general did not find any wrongdoing on the part of Michaelides.The audit office also responded to the Opap accusations, saying they did not feel threatened.  In a statement, the service noted that in 2016, the auditor-general had received a complaint regarding serious crimes committed by Opap.  “The complaint concerned Opap’s agreement with the Republic of Cyprus, in regards to the bilateral agreement, and the profits made by the Republic from Opap,” the statement added.  The announcement said that the issue was completely in line with the duties of the auditor-general.It added that the audit office had cooperated with the Treasury, which has the responsibility of controlling the transnational agreement, and that Opap had impeded the controls sought.“In the meantime, the issue has been submitted to the attorney-general of the Republic in order to investigate the possibility that criminal offences have been committed,” it added.Police were looking into possible conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to commit felony, forgery, circulation of forged documents and fraudulent appropriation or keeping of false accounts, which may have been committed against the Republic.The announcement also said that “no violation of personal data, no removal or violation of banking secrecy, and no interception or transmission of private communications was made by the audit office.”“Furthermore, aside from the aforementioned potential crimes against the Republic, it has come to light that the bilateral agreement was being enacted in such a way that Opap was profiting from tens of millions of euros that it should have been paying to the Republic,” the statement concluded.Opap hit back in a statement late on Wednesday saying the company “reiterates its position that it has always fulfilled and fulfills all of its legal obligations to the state. This has been repeatedly confirmed, before the House and the Treasury.”You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoE Commerce Platform I Search AdsSelling Online Has Never Been Easier. Search The Best E Commerce PlatformE Commerce Platform I Search AdsUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img