A Turkish Cypriot man arrested by British bases authorities (SBA) earlier this year in Ayios Nicolaos has been sentenced to over five years in prison on money laundering charges after he was extradited back to the UK, it emerged on Thursday.
The man, Kamil Ozalp, a UK resident, had been arrested in England in May after he was found in possession of £100,000 (€113,000) in cash.
However, after being released on bail, Ozalp fled the country and was in hiding in the north of Cyprus while authorities in the UK continued their investigation against the 46-year-old.
Subsequent inquiries revealed the scale of the Ozalp’s crimes and he was soon wanted for laundering more than £1m.
Chief Inspector Mustafa Kemal from the SBA Police’s Dhekelia Division, said: “We had been contacted by the National Crime Agency to inform us about Ozalp and we gathered reliable intelligence that he was frequenting a supermarket in the Ayios Nicolaos area, within the Sovereign Base Areas.”
Acting on the intelligence, police officials mounted an operation and swooped on Ozalp during a visit to the supermarket and he was subsequently arrested and remanded in custody pending extradition hearings.
After initially pleading guilty to a lesser charge and not guilty to the charge of laundering more than £1m and being faced with an even lengthier sentence, Ozalp reversed his plea and he will now spend the next five years and three months behind bars.
“This is a great result for the SBA Police, the National Crime Agency and all of the other authorities who have worked so hard to bring this man to justice,” Kemal said.
“This was not an easy case to work on because of the complications with extradition but the police and the legal services did an excellent job and we are delighted it has reached a satisfactory conclusion now.”