Cyprus Mail

Lawyer drops client implicated in CyTA scandal

By George Psyllides
THE TRIAL of a businessman implicated in a suspicious land deal involving the pension fund of state telecoms company CyTA was adjourned yesterday after his lawyer withdrew because, unbeknown to him, his conversations with his client had been recorded.
The recordings, purportedly made in September, were leaked to the media early in February.
The transcripts, if authentic, revealed the questionable backstage wheeling and dealing that took place with the involvement of state officials and politicians.
Prosecutors have charged businessman Nicos Lillis and two police officers Costas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskou, in connection with the land case.
Their trial was scheduled to start yesterday but it has now been adjourned until April 29.
The two officers, serving at the secret service, were allegedly paid by Lillis to produce a false report saying the Turkish Cypriot seller of the land in Larnaca had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition — prior to selling the land.
At the start of the hearing yesterday, Lillis’ lawyer Giorgos Georgiou asked for permission to withdraw.
He said he could no longer represent Lillis and his company, Wadnic, because lawsuits would be filed in connection with the illegal recording of conversations between Georgiou and his client.
Georgiou said there were matters, which rendered the representation of Lillis improper.
“Complaints have been lodged with the police and lawsuits will be filed against close family members of the defendant,” Georgiou said.
The land deal in question involved the purchase by CyTA’s pension fund of office space in Dromolaxia, near Larnaca airport, at a price reportedly several times the going market value.
Allegations have since surfaced that millions were paid in kickbacks to make the deal possible.
Former CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis and seven others — former electricity authority EAC chairman Charalambos Tsouris, a member of the CyTA board at the time, opposition AKEL officials Christos Alecou and Venizelos Zanettou, the director of CyTA’s pay-TV arm and SEK union rep Orestis Vasilliou, CyTA employee Yiannis Souroullas and his brother Gregoris who works at the land registry, and businessman Antonis Ioakim, a shareholder in Wadnic, the company involved in the €20.5m deal – will appear before Larnaca Criminal Court on March 7 to be formally charged in connection with the purchase of the property.
The eight accused face 33 charges, including conspiracy to commit felony, fraud, theft, bribery, abuse of power and money laundering.
The offences were committed between 2009 and 2013.
The arrests were made possible following Lillis’ testimony.
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