By George Psyllides
TAX cheat and former Central Bank governor Christodoulos Christodoulou will return to prison after medical tests showed that he could not remain in hospital where he was admitted shortly after he was sentenced to five months in jail on Monday.
Christodoulou was sentenced to five months in prison after he failed to pay taxes on a €1.0m payment he received from a Greek ship-owner.
He complained of being ill upon arrival at the central prison and was taken to Nicosia general hospital.
The move sparked anger among the public who has seen several prominent individuals falling ill when they run into trouble with the law.
Health Minister Philippos Patsalis had said in an earlier statement that a medical board was scheduled to convene on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest, to decide whether Christodoulou’s stay in hospital was justified.
The board was set up in July in a bid to stamp out the phenomenon of suspects or convicts citing health issues to stay out of prison.
“This proposal was approved and we kept it in the drawers for whenever necessary,” the minister said.
The board was used for the first time when well-known developer Theodoros Aristodemou fell ill when he was arrested in connection with a suspicious land zoning case in Paphos.
The board judged that Aristodemou could be held in police custody without any problems.
“We respect the medical issues that Mr. Christodoulou has, and that is why the state hospitals were providing him with all the necessary tests,” the minister said.
Christodoulou is the latest in a number of officials invoking health problems when they run into trouble with the law.
Former defence minister Costas Papacostas, sentenced to five years in jail in 2013 for his role in the naval base disaster where 13 people were killed, has not spent a day in jail.
The health minister said in Papacostas’ case, the medical data justified him remaining in hospital for the time being.
Christodoulou, who led the Cypriot central bank for five years prior to his departure in 2007, had pleaded guilty to failing to declare revenue of a consultancy he jointly owned with his daughter.
He was charged with failing to report in a timely manner a revenue of €1.0m from Greek businessman Michalis Zolotas. He said the sum was an up-front payment for consultancy services, and tax on the amount was later paid following a formal investigation.