Costas has extensive experience in financial services and virtual asset regulation, forensic investigations and regulatory litigation. He routinely advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters and has worked on a number of high-profile cross border enforcement investigations across different sectors, and is a qualified solicitor of England and Wales. Prior to joining the firm, Costas had previously worked for 9 years as a lawyer and forensic investigator at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the UK’s financial services regulator.
His areas of practice include Investment Services & Funds, Capital Markets, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency and Banking and Secured Financing. Costas’s expertise lies in advising clients on compliance with financial services regulation in the fields of investment services, payment services, virtual and crypto asset services, banking and capital markets. Costas is also ideally placed to assist clients in dealing with potential misconduct and advising on regulatory or criminal investigation related matters.
Costas possesses in-depth knowledge of MiFID, MiFIR and the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) and advises domestic, EU and third country firms such as investment firms, credit institutions and fund managers on their application and the application of associated domestic legislation, directives and regulation.
He can assist clients in ensuring that their policies and procedures in relation to, amongst other areas, best execution, conflicts of interest, client reporting, client suitability assessments, outsourcing, and marketing are compliant with both European and local directives and regulations. Given his extensive experience in market abuse and insider dealing investigations, Costas is also well placed to advise clients on implementing systems and controls to prevent and/or detect market abuse, the handling and release of inside information and on identifying and reporting suspicious transactions to regulators.
Costas has considerable investigatory experience and can conduct investigations on behalf of clients into suspected front-running of client orders, breaches of personal account dealing policies and other potential misuses of client data or of inside information.
Costas also assists clients under investigation by regulatory authorities or law enforcement agencies for alleged breaches of MiFID related requirements or other securities law provisions, or assists in defending allegations of market abuse and market manipulation. He advises clients on mitigating the effects of misconduct, handling communications with regulators and on remediation work to enhance safeguards against future incidents.
He advises on matters related to the AIFMD and UCITS Directive and on related local laws, directives and regulations.
Costas assists clients with identifying potential legal issues arising from either the adoption of distributed ledger technology or the launch of new distributed ledger technology initiatives in Cyprus. His experience in the field of financial services regulation and his knowledge of the legal framework for virtual assets can be leveraged by clients that are interested in providing services in relation to, or investing in, crypto-assets in, or from, Cyprus. He advises clients interested in applying for a crypto-asset services provider (CASP) licence from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, or any existing CASP providers in relation to their ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements. He can also provide advice in relation to any contentious crypto-asset related matters and assist with any forensic investigations involving such assets. Costas is further able to assist any clients that may be considering an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) or Securities Token Offering (STO) and to advise on all legal aspects of the offering, including the assessment of the ICO/STO’s compliance with the current virtual asset and securities legal framework, review of contractual documentation and white papers and any other incidental matters.
Costas keeps abreast of legal developments in the field and is able to provide advice to clients in relation to yet to be implemented regulation.
Costas advises local, EU and third country credit institutions on regulatory requirements under MiFID II, CRD, CRR as well as local banking laws and regulations. Costas has also previously advised financial technology companies on the aspects of the Payment Services Directive and the Electronic Money Directive.
Costas has extensive experience of investigations into banks and wholesale financial institutions for systems and controls deficiencies and against senior management for failures to exercise due skill, care and diligence. Costas has worked, amongst others, on FCA investigations into JPMorgan Chase Bank for systems and controls failings that led to the $6.2 billion London Whale trading loss, Prudential Plc in relation to its failed takeover bid for AIA, UBS AG for systems and controls failings that led to the $2 billion trading loss caused by a rogue trader (Kweku Adoboli) and into individuals at various banks suspected of involvement in manipulation of the Spot FX market.
Given his extensive experience Costas can conduct investigations on behalf of clients into suspected employee misconduct and can represent clients under investigation by regulatory authorities or law enforcement agencies. Costas can also advise clients on appropriate systems and controls to safeguard against misconduct or with remediation work to enhance safeguards against future incidents.
Costas can advise domestic and international clients on various capital markets and securities law issues deriving from, amongst others, the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), the Prospectus law, and the Transparency Directive. Costas is well placed to advise on IPOs, rights issues and take-over bids.
Costas has extensive experience in market abuse and insider dealing investigations. He conducted the first market abuse investigation under MAR in the UK, worked on the market abuse case against David Einhorn and Greenlight Capital Plc and on criminal prosecutions in the UK for insider dealing. He can advise issuers on compliance with MAR provisions such as ensuring that policies and procedures are in place to guarantee the correct handling and release of inside information relating to the issuer.
Costas can also advise clients on steps they should take in suspected cases of improper disclosure, or abuse, of inside information and can represent clients in investigations conducted by regulatory authorities or law enforcement agencies.