Cyprus Mail

‘Private jet for president’s French trip cost state nothing’

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday refuted accusations in opposition AKEL mouthpiece that President Nicos Anastasiades had spent taxpayers money by using a private jet to travel to Paris for his official meeting with the French leadership.

Haravghi newspaper criticised the president for flying to Paris on a luxury jet, reminding its readers that as an MP, Anastasiades had led the way in freezing funds for a presidential private jet, implying double standards were at work.

Former president, and ex AKEL leader Demetris Christofias was criticised in the past for using state funds for leasing a private jet which cost the state €300,000 for 50 hours. In July of 2008 Christofias had used 40 of the 50 hours to cover six official trips, at a cost of €240,000 to the state.

But according to deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos yesterday, the jet used to bring Anastasiades to France was loaned to him at no cost by a friend.

“Because the meeting [in France] on Wednesday could have been cancelled due to air traffic control strikes in France, the president contacted a personal friend, an MP from a neighbouring country, who offered his jet to the president without any charge to the state,” the written statement said.

Not only did the state not pay the travel expenses for the president and his party, it also helped to save costs as no money was spent on a commercial airline, it added.

The president is in Paris on an official visit. He met French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday.

He will return this afternoon on a scheduled Cyprus Airways flight.

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