By Elias Hazou
The police are set to begin investigating a number of cases involving the apparent plunder of the pension fund of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA), it emerged on Tuesday.
After an in-house investigation, the state telecoms company identified five cases of investments gone sour. These were forwarded to the Auditor-general, who on scrutinizing the files turned them over to the police.
The cumulative losses from these investments are estimated at €176m, MPs heard. CyTA is a taxpayer-funded entity.
The above figure does not include the Dromolaxia real estate scandal, which went to criminal trial and produced convictions.
Five cases are now in the authorities’ hands, CyTA chairman Christos Patsalides told the House watchdog committee.
The organisation is planning legal action in order to recoup its money.
Patsalides revealed that some of the parties implicated in these investment cases have approached CyTA and asked to settle out of court.
Some of the cases smack of “theft and scandal,” the CyTA boss told MPs.
The five cases that are now with police include the financing given from CyTA’s pension fund to Chaps Developers, and financing a project undertaken by a company that is a member of the Leptos Group and relating to the Limassol marina.
Another case relates to a possible conflict of interest involving a member of the previous board of directors at CyTA who was also found to be acting as a consultant for a project financed by the organisation.
There is also the financing given to a company by the name of Nemika.
It’s understood that in some cases CyTA money was put into building projects which never materialised.
Lastly, a €2.5m loan given to A. Panayides Contracting Public, a construction and land development company.
On the latter, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides told MPs that the company returned the €2.5m a few days ago.
In addition, CyTA has just finished compiling six more reports on suspect investments, one of which relates to the Athienitis mall.
Patsalides said these cases as well would likewise be forwarded to authorities.
The suspected mismanagement of CyTA funds relates to the previous board of the organisation. The current board has vowed to clean up shop.