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Cyprus

Former First Lady joins redundancy queue

By George Psyllides

FORMER First Lady Elsi Christofia has applied to the state for redundancy pay, joining some 12,000 unemployed people waiting for the cash they were due.

It appeared that Christofia too fell victim of the economic crisis as reports said that her party, AKEL, has recently made people redundant.

To be eligible for redundancy, a person must be employed continuously by the same employer for 104 weeks.

First ladies do not receive a salary.

However, AKEL members appointed or elected to public positions contribute a sizeable chunk of their monthly salary to the party’s coffers.

Although it is well within her rights, a similar act by a former minister had been criticised by her own husband a couple of years ago.

During a news conference in 2011, Demetris Christofias, boasted that he had scrapped the civil servants’ super privilege of collecting unemployment benefits for six months after their retirement.

He went a step further saying a former minister of the Glafcos Clerides administration had claimed the benefit, something that he found morally reprehensible.

In May, Christofias published his family’s accounts in a bid, as he said, to put paid to ‘malicious rumours’ that members of his family are ultra-rich and that they transferred millions out of the country.

The accounts compared the revenues and expenditures, as well as the assets and liabilities, of Christofias and his wife on December 31, 2007 and December 31, 2012 – roughly the period spanning Christofias’ presidency.

On December 31, 2012 the property of the couple was worth a total €341,901, compared to €315,704 on December 31, 2007. By the end of 2012, however, they owed €200,000, bringing their net worth down to €141,901.

The couple transferred to their son their residential apartment worth €484,980, and spent some €18,000 on their son’s studies. They also gifted €230,000 in cash to their two daughters.

Their total combined earnings during the period in question amounted to €914,336, and expenses to €1,088, 139.

Christofias’ net income (salary minus taxes and contributions to AKEL) at the end of 2012 came to €764,658 for the five years he was president.

His spouse’s net earnings in the same period totalled €149,677 as a member of AKEL’s Central Committee.

In 2010 Christofias collected a little over €46,000 from his provident fund, and in 2012 cashed in a life insurance policy getting some €12,000.

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