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Aristo zoning trial gets underway

Aristo chief Theodoros Aristodemou

Forty nine pieces of evidence were on Tuesday submitted to Paphos court by police as the trial relating to a suspicious land zoning case involving Aristo Developers got underway.

Aristo Developers founder Theodoros Aristodemou, his wife Roula, 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.

Prosecution witness Andreas Tsekouras, a police officer who was part of the investigating team, presented the pieces of evidence that included statements by the defendants and project designs found at the Paphos municipality.

The trial will resume on Wednesday.

According to the charge sheet, the facts of the case date back to 2010, when Aristo applied for a zoning permit to demarcate 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 previously released on bail of €100,000 each, while their names were included on the stop-list and they handed 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.

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