Cyprus: Challenging The Use Of Illegal Means To Obtain Confidential Information

As a matter of reasonable consistency, it cannot be permitted to one party to secure and hold documents of confidential nature, which belong to another party, without any prior legal authorization to this effect, i.e., without previously securing a relevant court order (Norwich Pharmacal/Disclosure order), which authorizes such a kind of disclosure.

With a recent order of the District Court of Nicosia, Cyprus, Rusal's affiliated companies have been ordered to destroy all of the information they had illegally obtained when a Bank in breach of the client-bank confidentiality relationship "surrendered" full details and information in respect to the bank accounts of their client-defendant without such order of the Court.

The judgment reaffirms and clearly illustrates the principles applied within the context of Norwich Pharmacal (disclosure) proceedings and sets a sound precedent on this specific area and on issues of breach of confidentiality being an award we are proud of having devoted great effort to achieve and chased with diligence and persistence duly recognized also by the Court.

Our firm has been acting for the first Defendant*, one-time head of alumina and bauxite for Rusal who became target of international litigation by Rusal and its affiliated companies. Rusal's four affiliated associated companies launched their action against our client and his co-defendants shipping companies, alleging that in shipping contracts and transactions between 2003 and 2007 they had conspired to cheat Rusal. The reality being that in September 2007 Rusal had commissioned the independent Doll Shipping Consultancy of the UK to assess its shipping performance; it had reported that the transportation rates charged were six times below the prevailing market prices, and that the shipping arrangements for Rusal cargoes had been in every respect advantageous to Rusal. In support of the allegations, Rusal's Cyprus lawyers also sought to freeze Cyprus bank accounts of the Defendants and in parallel they managed to get the Bank to "disclose" everything it had recorded in their accounts in respect to the first Defendant's bank accounts.

In the latest development, our firm launched an application requesting an order of the Court preventing the Plaintiffs and their representatives by using, by any means, and/or within the terms of any judicial and/or forensic proceeding, within or outside jurisdiction to reveal and/or notify to any individual any documents and/or their content and/or information that the Defendant 6, namely the Bank, gave to them in the form of an affidavit.

Allied to the above our motion requested an Order of the Court ordering the Plaintiffs to hand over for destroying to the Registrar of the District Court of Nicosia, all the documents that were delivered by the Defendant 6 with the aforesaid affidavit and also any documents and/or any copies and/or reproductions of the same in any form.

In the 40-page text of the judgment issued by Senior District Judge Lena Demetriadou-Andreou it was concluded that:

"In the present case and as it arose from the unchallenged and undisputed facts, there was a disclosure of the bank accounts of Defendant 1/Applicant, without having secured a Court Order and without the Applicant/Defendant 1 being previously heard...".

The court documents also reveal that in pursuit of the Defendant the lawyers acting for Rusal in Cyprus had misled the Court and kept secret from the Defendant that his bank account data had been seized. In the exact words of the Court: " they themselves gave the impression that such an Order was issued ...."

Based on the undisputed facts that occurred in the present case and as they are stated above, the following was concluded by the Honourable Court:

The Applicant was deprived of his constitutional right to be heard in the context, in breach of the principles of a previous hearing and of fair trial but also of the Rules of Natural Justice that dictates that an opportunity should be given to anyone, whose interests are affected by the process, to be heard in any court proceedings. In this case, it is an undisputed fact that the Applicant was, at the time of filing of the Affidavit of the disclosure of the Bank without a court Order, a party directly affected and he had, therefore, the right to be informed of the process and to be heard, something which apparently did not take place.

The disclosure of confidential documents and information of the Applicant/Defendant 1 by the Bank was carried out without firstly securing the necessary Court Order and, therefore, without the Court considering whether it met the necessary requirements set out in the Law for the disclosure and delivery of such documents and information, and therefore without the judgment and the discretionary power of the Court, which authorizes such an act, being exercised.

In its ruling the Court ordered Rusal's lawyers to report back to the court by a sworn affidavit that they had handed over for destruction by the court registrar all copies of the information they had taken from the Bank. The Plaintiffs are also now barred from using or leaking the information.

The result of the Cyprus court proceeding also linked with parallel New York proceedings sends a vibrant message to those using illegal means to obtain confidential information and litigating further to attack their targets.

There is also a price to be paid when any Bank reveals confidential information without a court order and, therefore, the absence of judicial review concerning their use, allows the Plaintiffs to use the documents in question for the purposes that serve them. In this instance separate legal proceedings have been instituted for damages against the Bank involved for their failure to observe their fiduciary duties and for the breach of their obligations of confidentiality against the client. In fact, confidentiality remains one of the most eminent features which distinguishes the relationship between a banker and a customer.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.