By Staff reporter
IN A bid to quash any insinuations of impropriety, First Lady Andri Anastasiades yesterday released data indicating that what she paid for a land plot in Limassol was comparable to current market rates.
In a statement, Mrs. Anastasiades said the whole issue had been blown out of proportion and accused Phileleftheros – which claimed a news scoop – of irresponsible sensationalism. The issue has been “exploited politically,” she said.
On Wednesday, the daily led with a story on Mrs. Anastasiades’ purchase of a piece of land from the Archbishopric for €500,000. Citing land appraisers – which it did not name – the paper estimated a far higher current market value, implying there was something amiss with the transaction and that at the very least Mrs. Anastasiades got preferential treatment because she is the First Lady.
But according to Mrs. Anastasiades, the plot in question was valued by the Land Registry at between €470,000 and €522,000 – placing her own purchase price well within bounds.
According to a Land Registry printout, provided by the First Lady, the piece of land – adjoining the Anastasiades family home in a Limassol suburb – was valued at €287 per square meter, similar to other comparable plots. The area of the purchased property came to 1739 square meters.
The President’s security detail had already been using the property prior to the purchase and had even constructed an outpost for the guards.
Mrs. Anastasiades also said that she personally negotiated the transaction with the Archbishopric.
Archbishop Chrysostomos, who was the other signatory, yesterday reiterated there was nothing untoward in the deal.
He wondered why other sales of land by the Church had not caused such a ruckus.
“I believe this whole fuss… they wanted to hurt the President, and perhaps myself as well.”
If nothing else, the hubbub over the First Lady’s purchase may have inadvertently given some good sales publicity to the cash-strapped Church, the largest landowner on the island.