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Turkish Cypriot seller was ‘fearful’ of buyer’s connections in CyTA deal

By Poly Pantelides

THE MAN who sold land on location in what would later become a pension fund investment for the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) did not pursue more attractive deals because he was fearful of the buyer’s connections, an inquiry was told yesterday.

Accountant Panicos Senekkis was testifying to a panel looking into allegations the deal was greased to the tunes of millions.

Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Mustafa sold the Dromolaxia property, close to Larnaca airport in 2007 to Greek Cypriot company Wadnic Trading Ltd. Mustafa sold the land for less than €1.3 million although the land registry placed the value at more than double – over €2.9 million – when calculating transfer fees. Wadnic allegedly changed the terms of use, upgraded the coefficients and built on the land, selling the investment on to the CyTA pension fund in 2011 for over €19 million.

Senekkis was given power of attorney by Mustafa whom he knew via businessman Charalambos Liotatis whose books he kept. Asked why Mustafa did not pursue other deals that could have fetched more attractive prices, Senekkis said Mustafa believed he would not get approval to send the plot to anyone else but Wadnic’s Nicos Lillis, also the chairman of Larnaca football club Alki.

Liotatis and Senekkis financially supported Mustafa between 2007 and 2011 and even lent him money, the panel heard.

Mustafa would come and go from the occupied areas to the government-controlled areas, and came to be very close to Senekkis.

Senekkis had been asked to prepare contracts for tenant agreements to make it seem as if Mustafa and his son lived in the government-controlled areas. By law, Mustafa needed to have been a resident of the government-controlled areas for a minimum of six months prior to the transaction. At some point, Lillis allegedly told Senekkis to immediately pick up Mustafa to bring him over to the government-controlled areas “because the police were coming for a check,” he told the panel. Cyprus’ secret service, KYP, has produced contradictory reports on the matter.

In November 2011, following a CyTA payment tranche of €9.2 million, Senekkis said he expected to be able to cash in a post-dated cheque on Mustafa’s name for €320,000. Lillis told him there was no money left, and he would have to wait, Senekkis said.

Soon afterwards, Mustafa’s son told him they were fearful of Lillis’ connections and a few days later Mustafa annulled his power of attorney, believing he would be unable to recover the sum for them, Senekkis said. Last he heard of him was two months ago when Mustafa called from the north asking him to settle a mobile phone bill in the government-controlled areas, Senekkis said.

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