Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Property

Attorney-general to probe Aristo land deal

Theodoros Aristodimou

By Elias Hazou
THE FINDINGS of a police probe into a controversial land demarcation permit issued to Aristo Developers are expected to be handed to the Attorney-general’s office by the end of the week.
The AG will then decide whether any prosecutions are warranted, in a case involving allegations that Aristo, in cahoots with persons inside the Paphos municipality, milked extra real estate from dodgy paperwork.
The case, covered by daily Politis, was reported to police on July 1 and concerned an application filed by Aristo Developers for a permit to demarcate 177 plots in the Skali area of Paphos.
The application was approved, but according to the complaint filed to the police, it later emerged that new plans were added in the file and the previous ones had been annulled.
With the new plans, the company took back some 5,000 square metres, which had been previously earmarked as green spaces in accordance with the rules and regulations.
The value of the land was estimated at €2.0 million.
The company denied any wrongdoing, saying the municipality got the calculations wrong. It claimed that the municipality had asked for new plans to be submitted and the discrepancy came about because the land area was bigger than what was recorded on the title deeds.
The changes in the demarcation of green areas were made at the behest of the water department to protect a stream.
When the story first broke, Politis had reported that Aristo boss, Theodoros Aristodimou, his wife Sotiroulla, and former municipal engineer Savvas Savva, were named as suspects in a police report submitted to the AG’s office.
The AG’s office had then returned the file to the police, asking for more data. On July 29 Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas addressed a letter to the chief of police, noting that the municipality was ready and willing to fully cooperate with investigators.
Shortly thereafter, Paphos police HQ drafted a response to Vergas. It drew attention to apparent delaying tactics from within the municipality, such as that some employees whom investigators wanted to interview couldn’t find the time to speak to detectives because of their workload.
The letter, confirmed as genuine, was leaked to Politis. It was supposed to be signed off by the Paphos police superintendent, but the signature field was empty.
The fact that this letter was never sent to Vergas fuelled the newspaper’s speculation that someone inside the force was trying to stymie the investigation.
However it’s understood the letter was not delivered simply because it was decided that the response to Vergas should be sent by the chief of police, the initial addressee.
CID officers have been questioning staff at the land registry, the water department and the Paphos municipality, and will likely hand over their new report to the AG by Friday.

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