By Constantinos Psillides
THE court case of a known 57-year-old businessman and his 35-year-old accomplice accused of sexually exploiting a minor took an unexpected turn yesterday as a 19-year-old girl stepped up and testified against them.
The girl is the sister of a 14-year-old girl that the two men are accused of having sex with. This is the third girl that has testified against the pair, after the case first came into light on April 30 when a 15-year-old girl told police that she had been beaten and raped by the two men.
The 19-year-old told Larnaca District court she was urged by her sister to approach the businessman and ask him for money in exchange for sex.
She added that with the money she got she rented an apartment that the businessman used to visit and that she lived there with her boyfriend.
The Larnaca district court on Tuesday referred the case to the criminal court, before which the two men will appear on May 30. The District court will decide on Wednesday whether the two men will remain in custody until the trial.
The 57-year-old faces nine charges, including conspiring to commit a felony and sexual exploitation of minors.
The 35-year-old faces 21 charges, including conspiring to commit a crime, kidnap, rape, assault, causing actual bodily harm, theft and solicitation.
The businessman is currently under guard at the Larnaca general hospital after reporting headaches and dizziness upon his arrest.
In court, the prosecution argued that the two men should not be set free on bail terms lest they repeat their offences or flee the country.
The 57-year-old’s lawyer argued that the three girls were prostitutes and were living off his client, who he claimed they called upon whenever they needed money.
He said his client should be released and is willing to submit his travel documents.
The lawyer added that his client is widely known and recognisable so he cannot go out in public.
The lawyer argued anyone could find themselves in the shoes of his client since he is a wealthy man and was approached by the girls offering sex.
He requested that the trial take place behind closed doors but his request was denied.
The 35-year-old’s lawyer also asked that his client be released on bail, arguing that rape and kidnap charges will not hold in court since the girls had their mobile phones with them at all times.
The 15-year-old girl told police on April 30 that she met the 35-year-old on Facebook and arranged to meet him, only to be kidnapped and taken to his apartment.
The girl claimed she had been beaten and raped by the 35-year -old, and forced to take drugs.
The second girl, 14, came to the man’s apartment and asked to be paid for sexual services, police were told.
The 35-year-old allegedly took both girls to an apartment in Larnaca where they were joined by the businessman who also had sex them.
A raid on the apartment of the businessman yielded a number of videotapes of sexual content as well as a selection of sexual aids.