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Cyprus

Charges dropped against key witness in land deal case

By Staff reporter

The state has withdrawn charges against a 43-year-old businessman in connection with a suspicious land deal in Larnaca involving the pension fund of state telecoms company CyTA.

Nicos Lillis and his company, Wadnic, were key players in a major corruption scandal involving the funding of a multi-million euro development project – the Aero Centre – in Dromolaxia from the pension fund of state-owned telecoms company CyTA, with hundreds of thousands allegedly exchanging hands in kickbacks and greasing political wheels.

Lillis and two police officers, members of the secret service, were being tried by the district court.

State prosecutors told the court on Tuesday that the charges were being withdrawn after Lillis agreed to testify against the other two and because he had testified on behalf of the prosecution in separate trial related with the case before the Criminal Court.

“This person, while a defendant, expressed the wish to become a prosecution witness and this is something state prosecutors made use of,” Attorney-general Costas Clerides said. “It would certainly be inconceivable to be a defendant and a prosecution witness.”

Clerides said the court has been informed with full transparency “and there is nothing wrong in this matter or anything weird.”

The two officers Costas Miamiliotis, 53, and Lefteris Mouskou, 40 – already suspended from duty – are suspected of conspiring to draft a false report that enabled the sale of the land, which belonged to a Turkish Cypriot.

They were allegedly bribed to produce a report saying the Turkish Cypriot seller had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition — prior to selling the land.

The land was sold to Lillis’ Wadnic Trading. The company then managed to upgrade the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund for some €20 million.

Former CyTA chairman Stathis Kittis and six others — former electricity authority EAC chairman Charalambos Tsouris, a member of the CyTA board at the time, opposition AKEL official 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, are being tried separately by the Larnaca Criminal Court in connection with the case.



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