By Peter Stevenson
THE transcript leaked to local media from the conversation between a businessman who was implicated in the CyTA land scandal and his lawyers, has revealed a number of football match-fixing allegations.
The allegations, published in daily Politis yesterday would appear to implicate deputy-head of the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) Giorgos Koumas, and others officials in the football world.
The transcripts, the paper claims, are from some five hours of recorded conversation between businessman Nicos Lillis who is at the centre of the CyTA scandal – and his lawyers last September while trying to work out a plea bargain. Lillis is also chairman of Alki football club in Larnaca.
One of Lillis’ lawyers, Giorgos Georgiou claimed to have incriminating evidence against high-ranking officials involved in football but had been unable to use that evidence successfully.
According to the transcript Lillis then began bragging about his own experiences from the world of Cypriot football. He made allegations against Koumas involving threats against the family of a Greek football player so that he would throw a game.
“He [the Greek player] had been given instructions to make sure we (Alki) lose but we won,” Lillis allegedly said. He went on to say that Koumas called him saying: “Hey you’re a player, we should meet”.
“I asked him what he wanted and he said ‘When I need you I’ll tell you’,” Lillis allegedly said.
According to the businessman, Koumas did end up calling him and allegedly said he had been asked by certain other businessmen to make sure that Paralimni and Achna were not going to get relegated to the second division.
He asked them how he was supposed to achieve that to which he was told that Lillis should make sure Alki lost their matches against Achna and Paralimni.
Lillis allegedly agreed under the condition that referees would not give bad decisions against Alki for the next two seasons otherwise he would expose them.
“These guys don’t fear anyone. The treatment I’ve had until now is like I’m a big club. I’ve never had any problems with referees. I asked Koumas last year, hey what’s happening am I going to get relegated? He said ‘Are you crazy? Would I let you get relegated? I’ll sort it out’,” Lillis allegedly said, adding “You can’t be playing barefoot and others playing with football boots”.
Match-fixing is a common scourge in Cyprus but authorities have never been able to gather enough evidence to convict anyone.
During the 2012-2013 season the CFA received notification from UEFA that it had suspected six matches had been fixed.
The matches in question were: Doxa Katokopias vs. AEK Larnaca on March 31, Nea Salamina vs. Alki on April 21, Alki vs. Nea Salamina on April 28, Alki vs. Ethnikos Achnas on May 11, Ethnikos Achnas vs. Nea Salamina on May 19 and Olympiakos Nicosia vs. Alki on May 19 all last year.
The CFA has been informed that two matches already this season are suspected of being fixed. The matches were between Ermis Aradippou and AEK Kouklion and Doxa Katokopias and AEL.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told the Cyprus Mail that the six cases which were handed over to police for investigation have been handed over to legal services but he said he did not believe any charges would be made.
“There is insufficient evidence to prove any of the matches were fixed. In Greece they managed to tap phones and get evidence that way but unfortunately no such legislation exists in Cyprus,” he said.
Angelides said that the justice minister has been informed about the matter but that currently any legislation to bring-in phone tapping was not on the agenda.