By Constantinos Psillides
The trial relating to a suspicious land-zoning case, for which Aristo Developers founder Theodoros Aristodemou, his wife Roula, Aristo’s designer Christos Solomonides, and former Paphos municipality engineer Savvakis Savva, are facing charges of – among others – forgery, conspiracy to defraud, abuse of power, and legalising moneys obtained from illicit actions, resumes on Tuesday at the Paphos Assizes.
The trial was postponed on January 12 at the defence’s request, which argued that due to increased workloads from other high-profile and complex cases it has undertaken, such as those of Dromolaxia and TEPAK, warranted a two-week continuance.
Judge Dora Socratous had warned the defence that she would not grant a second continuance.
According to the charge sheet, the facts of the case date back to 2010, when Aristo applied for a zoning permit to demarcate its land in Skali, Paphos and was granted demarcation rights for 177 plots.
At a later stage, it appeared that the land registry’s records of the approved permit were falsified by replacing the approved architectural plans with amended ones, which ceded the company an additional area of some 2,730 square metres for development – estimated to be worth around €1.1 million – at the expense of the legally mandated green space and road network.
According to the charge sheet, Savva was also paid off to assist the company in carrying out its plans.
The four defendants were released on bail of €100,000 each and under conditions, including adding their names to the stop-list – meaning they would not be allowed to leave the country – and handing in their travel documents.
Theodoros and Roula Aristodemou, as well as Solomonides, are facing 32 charges each, while Savva is facing four additional ones relating to his capacity as a public official. The four defendants pled not guilty to all charges.
They are facing trial at the Assize Court, comprising its president Dora Sokratous, Senior District Court judge Lia Markou, and District Assize Court judge Michalis Droushiotis.