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Cyprus

AKEL looking to expel Katsourides (updated)

Nicos Katsourides (left) pictured with party chief Andros Kyprianou

By Constantinos Psillides

Main opposition AKEL is considering the expulsion of one of its most prominent members, MP Nicos Katsourides, after an internal probe found that he was involved in the Dromolaxia scandal, reports said on Wednesday.

According to daily Politis, the political bureau has studied the probe findings during its last two meetings and proposed that the veteran politician be expelled from the party. The final decision will be taken during a meeting of the political bureau on Friday.

AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou confirmed the probe but declined to comment on its findings or whether Katsourides was found to be at fault.

Kyprianou said that the political bureau was examining the probe’s findings and not Katsourides’ expulsion.

“Discussion on the probe’s findings has not finished yet. When we get there the matter will be discussed by the party’s central committee,” he said, adding that the whole affair was strictly an internal issue.

“This is AKEL’s business. The party members will be made aware of the probe’s findings so I think that news reports of this nature are not necessary.”

Asked to reject the report that the party is considering expelling Katsourides, Kyprianou declined to answer, noting that “there is no need to resort to gossip.”

Kyprianou also declined to answer whether a meeting with Katsourides was arranged, reiterating that at the moment “we are discussing the report, not Katsourides”

The nature of Katsourides’ involvement in the scandal was not made clear.

The Dromolaxia scandal, a land scam involving the purchase by the CyTA Pension Fund of Turkish Cypriot property in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, and the construction of office space complex at an inflated price, saw five people convicted in January this year, including AKEL member Venizelos Zanettos.

Zanettos was sentenced to three and half years in prison, after he was found guilty of extorting money from the main prosecution witness, businessman Nikos Lillis.

Former CyTA board chairman Stathis Kittis, eight years, former EAC boss and former CyTA board member Charalambos Tsouris, three years, trade union representative and Cytavision director Orestis Vasiliou, nine years, and land registry official Gregoris Souroullas, six and a half years.

In his court testimony, Zanettos had said that Nicos Katsourides was also involved.

“They questioned the wrong man,” Zanettos had said, maintaining that police fell short of executing their duty to investigate the case fully.

In his verdict, the judge noted that Zanettos failed to substantiate his claims that Katsourides was in any way involved.

AKEL stood behind Zanettos, maintaining that he was wrongfully accused.

Katsourides stepped down as parliament spokesman for AKEL in December 2013.

Katsourides could not be reached for comment.

 

 

 

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