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Cyprus

Three new arrest warrants issued in co-op case (Updated)

Three new arrest warrants were issued on Tuesday against two men aged 69 and 52 and a 49-year-old woman in connection to the Ayia Fyla co-op case in which up to €25 million in irregular loans was given out after property prices were inflated as part of the scam.

Limassol police spokesman Ioannis Soteriades told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that the three suspects were associates of the 54-year-old owner of a construction company, who was placed in custody last week, also in connection to the same case.

The three wanted suspects were allegedly finding people who had financial problems and in exchange for money they were presented as guarantors for loans taken by the contractor or his company. The papers signed by the paid volunteers were later converted and the signatories were unknowingly turned into principal debtors.

The contractor was arrested last week along with three co-op employees. They are suspected, among other things, of having conspired with valuators to inflate the going market price of properties so that commensurately inflated loans could be approved.

The suspected irregularities were reported to police in March 2015, after the findings of an internal audit at the co-op were forwarded to the Legal Service.

Police investigations revealed 110 loans given in violation of due procedure, for a total of €25 million. At this stage, investigators are focusing on alleged offences committed from 2006 to 2009, relating to 22 loans adding up to €9.5 million.

Another suspect, Iordanis Kostekoglou, 45, from Greece, is also wanted by the police. Kostekoglou is believed to have fled to the north of the island.

He has had run-ins with police in the past in connection with extortion, according to Soteriades.

“The scope of investigation of this case is very wide. Investigations are extended and there might be more arrests, always in cooperation with the Police Headquarters and the Legal Service,” Soteriades said.

If anyone has more information contact Limassol police at 25 805057 or any other station, or with the citizens hotline 1460.

 

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