Cyprus Mail

Cypriot admits to being brains behind smuggling ring

By Constantinos Psillides
A 48-year old Cypriot man confessed before a Greek court on Tuesday to running a people smuggling ring.
According to the Cyprus News Agency the man – who was arrested in Thessaloniki last week along with another Cypriot – admitted he was the brains behind the operation. The ring reportedly provided illegal immigrants in Greece with forged documents and arranged for them to be transported to other EU countries.
CNA reports that each immigrant was charged between €3,500 and €4,000.
The second Cypriot man, a pilot working for a Greek airline, is still in custody.
Five other individuals also arrested with the two Cypriots have been released, including the partner of the 48-year old, a Cypriot woman studying in Thessaloniki.
Pantelis Karambinas, defence lawyer for the 48-year old, told CNA that the woman said to investigators that she had no idea of her partner’s business and that she was shocked when she learned about it. “I have absolutely nothing to do with that,” the woman said.
The woman is expected to testify as a prosecution witness.
The 48-year old is also wanted in Cyprus in relation to two fraud cases and forgery, dating back to 2004. He is suspected by Cyprus police of forging bank cheques and other official documents.
The man is due to be tried in Greece regarding the smuggling ring. Regardless of whether he is found guilty or not, he will then be extradited to Cyprus where he will stand trial for the 2004 cases.

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