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Cyprus

Ruling expected in Dromolaxia land scandal

Former CyTA boss Stathis Kittis

Larnaca criminal court is expected to rule later Monday on the Dromolaxia land deal scandal, the first of many scandals that emerged over the last two years.
The deal in question involved the purchase by CyTA’s pension fund of office space in Dromolaxia, near Larnaca airport, at a price reportedly several times the going market value.
The land was initially sold to Wadnic Trading, which upgraded the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund for some €20 million.
The alleged offences were committed between 2009 and 2013.
On trial are head of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) trade union Orestis Vasiliou; former CyTA marketing manager Yiannis Souroullas; his brother and land registry official Gregoris Souroullas; AKEL member Venizelos Zanettos; jewellery shop owner Antonis Ioakim; ex-CyTA boss Stathis Kittis; and former Electricity Authority boss Charalambos Tsouris. Private company Polleson Holdings Ltd is also facing charges as a legal entity.
The arrests were made possible after Wadnic businessman Nicos Lillis, a key player in the deal, switched sides and turned prosecution witness.
Lillis, who initially faced charges in a separate but related trial along with two intelligence service (KYP) officers, had the charges against him dropped after agreeing to testify against the other defendants.
The property in question was bought by Lillis from a Turkish Cypriot man in 2010 for €10 million and sold the following year to CyTA’s pension fund for €22m. The land coefficients were upgraded suspiciously fast while several high-ranking CyTA officials resigned in the wake of the investigation. The defendants are accused of receiving kickbacks for greasing the property deal.

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