Firm barred from Cyprus GSM auction has grudge, will sue

NICOSIA (Reuters) – A Cypriot firm, barred from an auction of the island’s first GSM mobile phone license to the private sector, could delay the process with a legal challenge to the decision, a source close to the firm said yesterday. Cyprus’s telecoms regulator Vassos Pyrgos told Reuters he was not aware whether the company – Atlantic Crest Investment – was contemplating court action and declined to state publicly why the firm had been disqualified. Atlantic Crest, which includes Monaco Telecom and three Cypriot businessmen, has handed the case to its solicitors, the source, who is involved in the consortium, told Reuters. «Our position is that we have been disqualified unfairly. We have not been convinced of the reasons given and we will challenge this disqualification,» said the source. The decision to bar Atlantic Crest from the October 29 auction was announced in the official gazette last Friday. «Whether they will contest this decision or not we do not know,» Pyrgos told Reuters. It was not immediately clear if the move would involve a court injunction, which would almost certainly delay the auction. Any court hearing of this nature would have to be held in the Supreme Court. The notification in the official gazette said the two firms that passed pre-qualification «met the minimum requirements as outlined in contest documents» but gave no other details. The two firms declared eligible to bid are CosmOTE Cyprus, linked to Greece’s CosmOTE, and Scancom (Cyprus). The company received the reasons for their disqualification in writing on Monday but has not disclosed them and Pyrgos has said only that it was related to fulfilling one of the «major clauses.»