By Angelos Anastasiou
Boss of Aristo Developers Theodoros Aristodemou on Tuesday sought to counter accusations against his company, saying that after two months of rumours and investigations no one has asked the company for its views.
“No official state organ, neither the Attorney General’s office, nor the police have asked Aristo to offer its positions,” he said. “This fact upsets us greatly, and we can only hope that those who have been asked to provide evidence have been careful to provide accurate information.”
His statements came as Deputy Attorney General Rikkos Erotokritou warned the Paphos municipal council that issuing zoning and construction permits to Aristo in the Skali area of Paphos before the AG’s probe into a dubious sequence of events thus far has been completed would constitute de facto intervention in the investigators’ work and could entail criminal culpability.
According to local daily Politis, Erotokritou dispatched the letter as the municipal council’s previous decision in late July had deferred a decision until the end of August, presuming that investigations would have been completed by this time.
Back in July, mayor Savvas Vergas had tabled the developer’s file before the council, proposing the approval of zoning and building permits for a total of 177 plots for which Aristo had secured a demarcation permit.
But it later emerged that the plans for which the demarcation permits were issued were switched with new plans, which seemed to cede approximately 5,000m² previously designated as green space, back to Aristo.
Erotokritou argued that any decision with regard to Aristo’s application for the issuance of zoning and building permits would constitute an attempt to effectively legalise any wrongdoing established by the ongoing probe.
In turn, such an attempt could possibly incur criminal culpability by the municipality, or any party involved in such an attempt.
At a press conference on Tuesday Aristodemou implied that the incident has been staged by interests competitive to his company’s, since the issue regarding the demarcation of these particular plots surfaced in 2014, while the permits were issued in 2010.
“The issue arose once some realised that the demarcation was almost complete and development begun,” he said. “That is up to each of us to evaluate logically.”
He asserted that inadequately informed municipal officials carried out incorrect calculations and measurements for the constructible areas of his plots, green spaces, roads and parking spaces, resulting in the entire controversy.
The real gap between the municipality’s and Aristo’s calculations, Aristodemou said, does not exceed 900m², and his company could not benefit from it under any circumstances since the Land Registry routinely spots such mistakes and amends developments accordingly prior to issuing title deeds.
Asked whether the Attorney General’s office is likely to be led to erroneous conclusions, Aristodemou said he would be able to form an opinion if he had access to the evidence gathered by the Attorney General’s office – which he does not.
“However, I trust the justice system immensely,” he said.