IronFX’s lawyers that have been instrumental in helping IronFX withhold withdrawals of profit and initial deposits by sending nasty legal threats to customers have been prosecuted for bribing a public official and abuse of power. Andreas Neocleous has been charged, and his son Panayiotis Neocleous is now in jail. Is this the end of the massive protection that has kept IronFX in business?
In March last year, FinanceFeeds reported from Cyprus that a case against Assistant Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou and Attorneys Andreas Kyprizoglou and Panayiotis Neocleous, and the law office of Andreas Neocleous had drawn to a close as a guilty verdict was passed by the Assize Court of Nicosia on March 2, 2016 in respect of a case which was filed on May 19, 2015.
At that time, the lawyers faced seven charges that have a seven year jail sentence attached to them, and were scheduled to appear in court on March 10 for continuation of the trial.
Of particular interest to the FX industry and its customer base is that lawyer Panyiotis Neocleous and the Andreas Neocleous law office are IronFX’s lawyers, and have been instrumental in instigating litigation and sending threatening letters to IronFX clients with regard to the withdrawal (or lack thereof!) of their funds, largely focusing on what IronFX had been deeming ‘abusive trading activity’ and abuse of bonus terms and conditions.
This particular point has been the cause of massive controversy over the past three years, as directly onboarded retail customers, introducing brokers and commercial partners have been routinely denied the withdrawal of their funds with IronFX having in many cases stuck firmly to the line that the terms and conditions that were originally signed for when opening trading accounts had been flouted, hence withdrawal of profit and original deposit would be denied.
High profile media campaigns on Chinese television, attempts at mass litigation, including several class action lawsuits against IronFX ensued, all of which have amounted to absolutely nothing thus far, and whilst other companies that transgress in Cyprus are awarded penalties and license suspensions, IronFX continues to ride roughshod over everything that is sensible, unhindered by the authorities.
FinanceFeeds has approached CySec several times with regard to how no license revocation has taken place, the official answer being that CySec has no restitution or criminal conviction powers, however CySec does have the ability to remove licenses and yet does not do so to IronFX, giving rise to speculation that a higher level of authority is keeping the wolf from the door. Indeed, investigations by FinanceFeeds have led to definitive conclusions, as detailed here.
Corruption is a major consideration in this case, a full and detailed account of which can be read by clicking here, and very recently yet another example of how the entire debacle that surrounds IronFX demonstrates that the entire matter is rotten to the core has surfaced.
The aforementioned lawyers were brought to justice last week, with a court in Cyprus having ruled that Panayiotis Neocleous and the Andreas Neocleous law office were found guilty of bribery of a public official, conspiracy to defraud, and abuse of power, along with the former deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou and his partner Andreas Kyprizoglu.
The 210 page decision found the testimonies of the defendants to be unreliable and vague, which repeatedly cast doubt over their respective version of events. This was the first ever criminal case in Cyprus in which the President of the Republic, Nicos Anastasiades, appeared as a witness.
The four lawyers were found guilty of conspiring to arrange for the favourable outcome in a civil lawsuit Erotokritou had filed against legacy Laiki bank in 2013, in which he sought to have about €0.5 million of loans written off against his seized deposits.
The Neocleous law firm, which represented Laiki at the time, did not appear in court for the hearing of Erotokritou’s lawsuit, resulting in a favourable ruling for the deputy Attorney General of Cyprus.
In return, the court found, Mr Erotokritou launched criminal prosecutions against Russian nationals who had been battling the law firm in court over control of Providencia, a trust-fund worth tens of millions of euros, against the explicit instructions of two attorney-generals, incumbent Costas Clerides and his predecessor Petros Clerides, whom the deputy deliberately kept in the dark.
As far as sentences are concerned, Panayiotis Neocleous, one of the law firm’s partners and son of founder Andreas Neocleous, was sentenced to a 2.5-year jail term, while Erotokritou’s old law-firm partner Andreas Kyprizoglou, who played a relatively minor role, was handed a suspended sentence of 1.5 year in prison.
FinanceFeeds is in receipt of copies of litigation letters which the Neocleous law firm has been sending to IronFX customers, often very threatening in nature and prose, as responses to customers objecting to IronFX’s withholding of withdrawals, the law firm emphasizing ‘abusive trading activity’ as a reason not to pay withdrawals.
Several clients that have taken to the internet to expose this have been subjected to litigation for defamation of character, however contrary to what has been written in Cyprus newspapers, most of these cases have ended in IronFX’s side being viewed very unfavorably by courts.
One particular legal letter sent to a retail customer that has been read by FinanceFeeds has a particularly unpleasant tone (we believe this is one of several, to several customers), and threatens “We will bring you to justice”.
Well, Mr Neocleous, it looks like you have certainly been brought to justice.
The law firm also instigated litigation against any party who dared take their grievances to the public forums, threatening in many cases “Our clients (IronFX) consider that your conduct amounts to an orchestrated black PR campaign against them with the objective of harming IronFX’s good reputation which cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”
Now let’s see Cyprus authorities bring other aspects to an even keel, such as the company’s ability to continue trading despite owing over 1.6 million Euros in tax to the Cyprus government, and having an unpaid withdrawal toll amounting to over $176 million, and for the European Parliament, which is investigating the matter, to put paid to this once and for all and restititute customers.