Fraud case: Michael Kyriakides, owner of Harris Kyriakides, suspected of colluding with criminals and not returning money to clients
Michalis Kyriakides’s company lost its license
On December 15, 2020, Harris Kyriakides LLC, a law firm owned by prominent lawyer Michalis Kyriakides, was searched by the Cyprus police.
According to the results of the investigation, in December 2020, the company lost its license to provide nominal services. The key reason was that Harris Kyriakides LLC provided services to fraudsters and criminals for profit.
Information has come to light that some of the company’s clients are wanted by Interpol and that the owner of the law firm was knowingly providing services to questionable clients. The rest of Harris Kyriakides LLC’s customers remained in ignorance and used the firm’s services, trusting Michalis Kyriakides and his team.
Deprived of a license to provide nominal services and under the close attention of the police, Mikhalis Kyriakides:
1. Freeze the company completely.
2. Stops responding to most customer requests.
3. Refuses to promptly hand over to Harris Kyriakides LLC customers the documents on their company.
4. Deliberately delays the process of transferring documents, which causes direct damage to the activities of client companies.
5. Refuses to return money for non-rendered services and unfulfilled obligations.
What will become with Harris Kyriakides LLC and most of its clients who have not broken the law?
Victims of the Michalis Kyriakides scam are in a desperate situation
At the time of the incident, Michalis Kyriakides’s company had hundreds of active, law-abiding clients, who conducted their activities transparently and had a clean reputation.
Michalis Kyriakides did not notify his clients about the incident itself, as well as the fact that thousands of files and documents with confidential information were seized by the police, leaving them in the dark.
Having learned from open sources about the shady activities of Harris Kyriakides LLC, the loss of its license to provide nominee services, clients hastened to terminate cooperation with a dubious law firm and demanded to issue them with documentation for managing their own companies.
Mr Michalis refused to give the clients their documents and started to delay the procedure in various ways, after which it became obvious that the clients would suffer terrible financial and reputational losses. Due to the complexity of the transfer, their businesses were frozen for months.
To understand why in January 2021 the law company was left without a license, and what the founder was accused of, we need to reconstruct the chronology of events.
Harris Kyriakides LLC comes to the attention of police and authorities
December 15, 2020
The Cyprus police are conducting searches of the Harris Kyriakides LLC, a law firm owned by Michalis Kyriakides and Quality Property Developments, based in Larnaca. In addition to the offices of the two companies, the houses of four main suspects from Harris Kyriakides LLC, including Mikhalis Kyriakides, were also searched. Documents and computers were seized.
In fact, according to the publication of Politis, the police requested from the court five arrest warrants, attorney of Harris Kyriakides, three employees, and businessman Savvas Taka. However, the court rejected them.
The reason for the search was a police investigation into a number of cases of illegal naturalization of Cypriots. Both companies assisted clients in the «expedited» procedure of obtaining a permanent residence permit in just 2 months. They guaranteed 100% approval of the application.
For this purpose, according to information published on the website of Quality Property Developments, it was necessary to «just» invest 300 thousand euros in any residential property. According to an independent investigation by Politis, the property must be on the list of the company’s assistant, and its value has been inflated by more than 240% of the average market value. Accordingly, the «bonus» served as an additional charge for the services of the assistant companies. Moreover, there are reports that applications for residence permits submitted by individuals have been rejected. But when the same people submitted them through an intermediary such as QPD or Harris Kyriakides LLC, the applications quickly received a positive verdict.
A total of 42 foreigners passed through the case, who wanted to quickly obtain citizenship using the «accelerated» procedure. Among the Cypriots involved in Harris Kyriakides LLC, its client Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi stands out.
Michalis Kiriakidis is covering for criminals?
A three-member ad hoc committee was formed to investigate the case. It included the Chairman of the Capital Market Commission of Greece, Dimitra Kalogiru, the Assistant Chief Accountant, Andreas Zacharides, and the Republic’s lawyer, Elli Florenza.
In the course of the investigation, a client of Harris Kyriakides LLC, Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi, who turned out to be wanted by Interpol and involved in fraud cases, came to the attention of law enforcement agencies.
Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi claimed to have been born in Malaysia, but was in fact Iranian. With the help of Mikhalis Kyriakides, he was naturalized under the name Tony Newman, receiving a Cypriot passport and citizenship. While in Cyprus, Tony Newman made false statements and even attempted to open bank accounts under two different names.
In addition, according to Phileleftheros, the son of Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi (Tony Newman) – Maleksabet Ebrahimi (Maleksabet Ebrahimi) and another relative are also involved. A father and son are wanted by Interpol for fraud committed in Iran.
According to Phileleftheros, the Cabinet has begun the process of abolishing the three nationalities mentioned above.
The Commission investigating the case still has questions:
• Was Mikhalis Kyriakides aware of the false information provided by Mehdi’s client Ebrahimi Eshratabadi (Tony Newman)?
• Did the CEO of Harris Kyriakides LLC make a false statement about an investment by one person when the investment was actually made by another?
Terrible fears have been confirmed
The committee’s investigation, with the assistance of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit (MOKAS), revealed the following:
• The statement of Harris Kyriakides’s client Mehdi Ebrahimi Eshratabadi (Tony Newman) and the attached documents were not originals.
• Client’s passport and birth certificate may be falsified.
• There are no documents in the case, including a criminal record.
• There is also a false statement that he intends to remain in Cyprus in the event of naturalization.• False allegations are presumed to be in the form of a naturalization application in which the applicant signed with the registrar.
• There is no additional information in Harris Kyriakides LLC’s Executive Summary to adequately assess its financial situation.
The committee thus concluded that Michalis Kyriakides, the owner of the law firm Harris Kyriakides, had knowingly worked with and provided services to a criminal client. Probably for profit and enrichment.
Then the question remains, how closely is Michalis connected to the world of crime and illegal business? Because Tony Newman’s case can only be the tip of the iceberg.
And the question of what will happen to the clients of the law firm Harris Kyriakides LLC. Can Mikhalis Kyriakides deceive the remaining clients and escape with their money and assets?
To see how likely such a scenario is, let’s look at Michalis’ biography.
Biography and past of Michalis Kyriakides
Michalis holds a law degree from the Kapodistrian National University of Athens, graduated from the Master of Laws Program at University College London and received a master’s degree from Oxford University, where he wrote his dissertation on summary civil procedure.
He specializes in complex commercial litigation in Cyprus and abroad. Michalis has been a leading lawyer in a number of large, lengthy and complex cases, many of which involve corporate and shareholder disputes, injunctions, trusts, collusion and civil fraud.
At the moment Mikhalis Kyriakides heads the department of corporate disputes and consulting services at Harris Kyriakides LLC.
What awaits the scandalous lawyer and deceived clients of Harris Kyriakides LLC?
There is no doubt that Michalis Kyriakides has vast experience in the legal field, the only question is how he will use his knowledge. Whether he is prepared to save face in front of hundreds of law-abiding clients affected by his actions and those of Harris Kyriakides LLC and to rectify the consequences.
It had already become known that employees of his company had been dismissed from their jobs and had not willingly been involved in his fraudulent activities.
Clients deceived by Mikhalis filed complaints with the Disciplinary Board of the Cyprus Bar Association, requesting that Mikhalis’s license to provide legal services be revoked.
The clients also demand a fair trial and expect to be compensated by the company for the services not provided and the moral, financial and reputational damages incurred.