Three more people were arrested on Friday in connection with a racket relating to research programmes at the Limassol-based technical university (Tepak).
Two senior officials at the University of Cyprus, 60 and 61, and an external associate, a 36-year-old architect, are suspected of involvement in four of 23 research programmes currently under investigation by the authorities.
All three suspects are Nicosia residents. On arrest, they were transferred to Limassol for a remand hearing in court on Saturday.
Investigators found that people who had nothing to do with the programmes cashed cheques issued in their name from the EU-funded programme budget, in payment of fake invoices.
Upon questioning, these people explained they had no idea about the scam and were only instructed by the ringleaders to cash the cheques and bring them back the cash.
The three will join 11 others arrested last week in connection with a €5m Tepak research grant fraud. Their remand order expires on Saturday, but police will seek its renewal.
The prime suspect is a female former Tepak employee, Rozita Pavlidou, who managed the research programmes in question.
The remaining suspects are Tepak university professor Costas Costa and Pavlidou’s relatives, whom she allegedly threatened colleagues to ensure they were included in research programmes.
One witness claimed Pavlidou had said she knew people in the underworld and “it would only take a phone call to place a bomb somewhere.”