Cyprus Mail

CyTA board member cost pension fund €4m court hears

Charalambos Tsouris, a former board member at the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) was instrumental in striking the Dromolaxia land deal that cost the organisation €4m, a witness testified yesterday in the ongoing criminal trial.
Lead police investigator Christodoulos Mavrommatis told the court it was Tsouris who drafted a report for CyTA which led to a follow-up agreement to buy into a development project in Larnaca.
He said Tsouris’ report advocated the purchase of additional surface area, which raised the overall purchase price for the investor, the CyTA pension fund.
According to the witness, the report was misleading because police later discovered there was no extra surface area. CyTA made another offer for the same parking lots and verandas in the development project.
As a result of the updated deal, CyTA’s pension fund sustained losses of about €4m, he said.
The witness was being grilled by Tsouris’ defence attorney. The lawyer submitted that the charges against his client were politically motivated.
The attorney went on to say that police charged Tsouris only because the latter had publicly come out against the intended privatisation of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus – of which Tsouris was chairman at the time he was indicted.
Mavrommatis denied the imputation, as well as the suggestion that he had tampered with Tsouris’ deposition to make Tsouris look guilty.
The officer was also put through his paces by the defence attorney of Stathis Kittis, former chairman of CyTA.
Kittis’ lawyer repeatedly tried to demonstrate that the prosecution’s key witness – businessman Nicos Lillis – had fabricated much of his testimony to police and that therefore the police had either been misled or else it colluded with Lillis to make a case out of nothing.
Kittis is one of the persons alleged to have received kickbacks.
Lillis and his company, Wadnic, are key players in the case concerning the financing of a multi-million development project – the Aero Centre – in Dromolaxia from the CyTA pension fund, where hundreds of thousands of euros in kickbacks allegedly greased political wheels to make the deal happen.
The land was sold to Wadnic Trading, which managed to upgrade the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund for some €20 million – several times its going market price.
Kittis, Tsouris and five others – AKEL official Venizelos Zanettou, director of CyTA’s pay-TV arm, 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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