By George Psyllides
THE defence in the trial concerning a suspicious land deal involving the pension fund of state telecoms company CyTA sought to hurt the credibility of the main prosecution witness by suggesting he had been involved in tax evasion.
Giorgos Papaioannou, defending former CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis, claimed that ALKI, a Larnaca football club headed by businessman Nicos Lillis, had drawn double contracts for its players.
One copy was submitted to the Cyprus football association and the other, containing higher salaries, was kept secret.
These contracts cost the state around €360,000 in taxes and social insurance contributions, Papaioannou said.
Lillis claimed he did not deal with the players’ contracts himself and was not aware of such a thing.
He added however, that the practice of double contracts was not something that only happened at ALKI.
Papaioannou also told the court that Lillis owed the income tax some €1m and that he had paid the club’s former coach, Costas Kaiafas, around €349,000.
Lillis said the money did not only concern Kaiafas’ salary but other obligations and purposes.
He wondered why Papaioannou had brought up the issue of the income tax.
Papaioannou insisted that Lillis had come to an agreement with authorities to testify in the trial in a bid to receive favourable treatment in a separate trial he faced that was linked to the case.
Kittis is among seven defendants on trial. The others are Charalampos Tsouris, former CyTA board member, Orestis Vasiliou, former secretary general of CyTA’s employee union, Yiannis Souroullas, CyTA employee, his brother Gregoris Souroullas, employee of the land registry department, Venizelos Zannetos, member of AKEL, Antonis Ioakim, a businessman and shareholder of Wadnic Trading Ltd, and Polleson Holdings Ltd.