Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Co-op fraud trial adjourned

The trial of six suspects in connection with suspicious loans given by the now defunct Ayia Fyla co-op bank in Limassol was adjourned until November 30, to give the defence time to examine additional material pertaining to the case.

Limassol’s Criminal Court accepted the request of the defence for more time to examine the amended charge sheet and the new material presented before them.

The suspects are a land developer, aged 54, who is believed to be the mastermind, his company manager, 42, a previous member of the co-op committee, aged 65, the bank’s secretary, 55, the loan department chief,43, and his 40-year-old assistant.

They face a total of 74 charges for handing out some €9.5 million in 22 loans between 2006 and 2009, after property prices were inflated as part of a scam. Police are still searching for a 49-year-old woman believed to be abroad.

The 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. Several were allegedly picked up in betting shops.

The papers signed by the paid volunteers were later converted and the signatories were unwittingly turned into principal debtors.

The contractor and three other co-op employees 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.

 

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