Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Whistleblower ref asks MPs to look into corruption probe delay

Marios Panayi

By Angelos Anastasiou

WHISTLEBLOWER referee Marios Panayi has asked parliament’s Watchdog committee to investigate the reason why his reports of corruption and match-fixing in Cypriot football have not yet triggered court cases, daily Politis reported on Wednesday.

According to the paper, Panayi had sent a letter to Attorney-general Costas Clerides in July, asking why the three individuals he made allegations against have not been charged with anything.

In a news conference last December and a subsequent statement to police investigators, Panayi had made allegations against chairman of the referees’ association Michalis Argyrou – resulting in his arrest at the time – as well as a prominent Cypriot referee who had engaged in conversation over rigged football matches on Facebook, and the son of a tax department official, who had allegedly been hired and promoted by the Cyprus Football Association in exchange for irregular tax exemptions performed by his father.

Panayi told Clerides that, according to police spokesman Andreas Angelides, the Argyrou case would be filed in court, but it never was.

On the case of the referee conversing on Facebook about fixed games, Panayi said former chairman of the referees’ association, referee Leontios Trattos, also gave a statement, and named a third person that could “corroborate my claims”, but this person was never asked to give a statement by police.

In a letter to the House Watchdog committee, Panayi argued that, since a civil servant is involved in the matter, it should be discussed at a committee session.

He was referring to the taxman’s son, who he claimed was hired by the CFA at an entry-level assistant position, and was summarily promoted to a high-ranking spot.

“I remain at your disposal for further details,” he added.

“I reserve much more information that I have become aware of recently, some of which is unfortunately connected with my reports,” the referee said.

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