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Cyprus

Court releases dodgy land deal suspects

The Larnaca district court on Friday ordered the release of three suspects who had been held in connection with a suspicious land deal involving the state telecommunications company pension fund.

The trio had been remanded in custody eight days ago and police had asked for a renewal of the order.

The three suspects are senior CyTA employee Yiannis Souroullas and his brother Gregoris, who works for the land registry, and union rep Orestis Vassiliou.

The brothers, along Vassiliou, allegedly received hundreds of thousands of euros in kickbacks as part of the deal.

Judge Alexia Lycourgou rejected the request saying the police let the time go by without really doing much to take the investigation further.

The only new element that links the suspects is a receipt, found at Gregoris Souroullas’ home, for a €100,000 cheque that was issued by a businessman already charged in connection with the case.

The cheque had been issued to a company, Polleson Ltd, whose director was Yiannis Souroullas’ mother in law and Vassiliou’s mother was the secretary

The three had been arrested along with CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis who was ordered to remain in custody for another three days on Thursday.

The land deal 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.

Former ruling party AKEL has also been implicated in the case.

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