By Constantinos Psillides
POLICE are looking into four companies allegedly linked to Cyprus Football Association’s deputy head Giorgos Koumas, on suspicion that Cytavision, the cable TV arm of CyTA, overpaid for broadcasting rights.
Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides notified the board on Friday that it had emerged following an internal audit, that Cytavision paid €203,000 for the rights to eight sporting events that were watched by between eight and 139 people only.
Michaelides criticised the board for not drafting a cost-benefit analysis that would have justifed the expenditure.
Investigators have now secured a court order to look into the finances of the four companies.
A police source the Cyprus Mail that police were looking into the companies’ transactions. “The investigation regarding the companies and Koumas is ongoing,” added the source.
Daily Politis said Cytavision paid €1.67 million to companies connected to Koumas in 2014 alone.
The CFA deputy head was thrust into the spotlight last December, after international referee Marios Panayi named him as the man behind extensive match fixing that allegedly took place in Cyprus football leagues.
Koumas was questioned by authorities but was never arrested or charged. The CFA deputy head has up to now refused to comment on Panayi’s accusations.
Evidence provided by Panayi lead to the arrest and prosecution of two members of the Cyprus Referees Association. Their trial is ongoing.
Cytavision is no stranger to controversy. The former director of the cable TV giant Orestis Vasiliou is currently serving a nine-year sentence over his role in the Dromolaxia scandal. Vasiliou was sentenced in January over 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.
It was also not the first time Cytavision found itself under scrutiny by the Auditor-general. In his report for 2013, Michaelides drew attention to the lack of transparency with regard to CyTA’s criteria in agreeing TV rights and advertising agreements with football clubs. According to Michaelides, in 2013 Cytavision’s revenues totalled €22.1m – not even enough to cover the cost of securing TV content which came to €24.8m.