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Cyprus

Orphanides found guilty in bad cheque case

By Angelos Anastasiou
Despite an earlier verdict in their favour, director of now-defunct Orphanides Supermarkets Christos Orphanides and wife Chariklia have been found guilty by the Supreme Court, after the plaintiff filed an appeal over bounced cheques.
The couple had issued two cheques in November 2012 – each for €10,000 – to the plaintiff, Savvas Theodosiou & Son Ltd, who had supplied the supermarket chain with products for sale. The cheques had been post-dated to December 31, 2012, but were never honoured due to insufficient funds in their account.
Orphanides and his wife were initially found not guilty on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that they had any way of knowing, when issuing the cheques, that the account would have insufficient cash balances on the value date. Instead, only the company – since defunct – was fined.
But the ruling was overturned on Friday by the Supreme Court, which reasoned that Christos Orphanides, company director, and wife Chariklia, employee and authorised signatory to the company’s chequebook, knew, or should have known, whether their company’s accounts were sufficiently funded in light of the outstanding cheques.
According to daily Politis, the court heard that the company’s bank account had been overdrawn to the tune of millions of euros at the time of issuing the cheques, which the defendants should have been aware of. The account had an authorised overdraft of €8 million, the court heard, but bank officials approved further credit of several million.
Also, it appeared that the supermarket chain had instructed its bankers to honour some cheques but not others, resulting in the ones issued to Theodosiou bouncing.
The twist in the case, which marks the first time Christos Orphanides has been held accountable for his company’s bad debts, is expected to be of immense significance in light of other cases pending against Orphanides in connection with unpaid cheques issued.
The court will hand down a sentence on November 24.



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