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Cyprus

Trial of KYP officers postponed

The trial of two secret service officers accused of receiving a bribe to falsify a report that made a dodgy land deal possible has been adjourned for November 23 as the attorney-general considers a proposal for them to plead guilty to certain charges.

The two KYP officers, Costas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskos, were allegedly paid by a businessman to produce a false report saying the Turkish Cypriot seller of the land had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition — for the transaction to go ahead.

The businessman, Nicos Lillis, bought the land, secured an upgrade of the building coefficient, starting building office space, and sold it to the state telecoms company (CyTA) pension fund for around €22mln, a price several times above the market value.

The deal, which involved hundreds of thousands in kickbacks, was eventually exposed, landing several high-profile people in jail.

Former CyTA boss Stathis Kittis got eight years in prison, former EAC boss and former CyTA board member Charalambos Tsouris three years, trade union representative and Cytavision director Orestis Vasiliou nine years, land registry official Gregoris Souroullas six –and-a-half years, and high ranking AKEL member Venizelos Zanettos three-and-a-half years.

Lillis got away after he struck a deal with prosecutors to testify against the rest. Lillis was also expected to testify against the two KYP officers.

Their trial had been postponed pending the outcome of the other case.

Authorities have been criticised for not bringing Lillis — considered the mastermind by some — to book.

However, in its decision, in January this year, the court said Lillis could not possibly be the man pulling the strings, since the crime could not have been committed if the rest of the defendants did not fully cooperate with him.

The judge pointed out that based on the testimonies heard in court, Vasiliou and Kittis were the ones who approached Lillis with the deal and that the businessman “did not lure anyone into committing a crime.” The court pointed out that while Lillis acted as a “cold-blooded businessman whose only concern was to get money,” he would not be able to commit the crime if the appointed officials and state workers did not agree to it.

 

 

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