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Police arrest CyTA chairman, two others in connection with land deal

Kittis (C) led away by police on Tuesday

Police on Tuesday arrested the chairman of the island’s state telecommunications company CyTA and two others – a CyTA employee and land registry official – in connection with a land deal worth millions involving the organisation’s pension fund.

Warrants were issued for four suspects on Tuesday morning, though the arrest of the fourth, a CyTA union representative, remains on hold as he is currently abroad.

Reports said Stathis Kittis, 69, had been named as the recipient of kickbacks by businessman Nicos Lillis who has already been charged in connection with the case.

The three other suspects are a CyTA union rep, a CyTA director, and his brother who works for the land registry.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said on Tuesday the three arrests marked the serious progress made in police investigations, while efforts were underway to make the fourth arrest. He added that no stone would be left unturned as investigations continue into the allegedly dodgy land deal.

Angelides said police wanted to question all four suspects in connection with a number of charges including conspiracy to commit a crime, conspiracy to commit fraud, fraud, bribery of a public official, abuse of power and other serious offences.

The land deal in question involved the purchase by CyTA’s pension fund of office space near Larnaca airport at a price reportedly several times the going market value.

Allegations have surfaced that millions were paid in kickbacks to make the deal possible.

Prosecutors have charged Lillis and two police officers, Costas Miamiliotis, 53, and Lefteris Mouskou, 40, in connection with the case.

They were arrested in late August.

They face 19 charges in total, primarily conspiracy to defraud, corruption, engaging in fraudulent transactions on real estate property belonging to a third person, corrupting a public functionary, bribery, and legitimising ill-gotten gains.

The Larnaca criminal court will begin hearing the case on October 2.

Lillis, who is also the chairman of Alki football club, is a shareholder in Wadnic Trading Ltd, the company which purchased the land in 2007.

The officers, members of the secret service KYP, are suspected of drafting a false report that enabled the sale of the land, which belonged to a Turkish Cypriot.

The two officers allegedly produced a report saying the Turkish Cypriot seller had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition for selling the land.

Detectives have traced two cheques allegedly made out to the officers by Lillis: one to Miamiliotis for €40,000, the other to Mouskou for €10,000.

The land in Dromolaxia, Larnaca was sold to a Greek Cypriot businessman who changed its terms of use, upgraded the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund at several times the price he bought it from the original owner.

 

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