By Angelos Anastasiou
In a plea bargain, Cyprus intelligence service (KYP) sergeants Costas Miamiliotis and Lefteris Mouskos, who faced bribery charges in connection with the ‘Dromolaxia’ scandal, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and abuse of power on Thursday.
The two policemen had been accused of taking bribes – €10,000 and €40,000, respectively – from land developer Nicos Lillis in order to prepare a report falsely confirming that Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Mehmet Mustafa permanently resides in the areas under the Cyprus government’s control.
Selling properties located in the government-controlled areas owned by Turkish Cypriots is only allowed if the seller is a permanent resident – i.e., has lived in the government-controlled areas for at least six consecutive months.
The report enabled the Interior minister – in his capacity as guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties – to approve the sale of land in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, owned by Mustafa to Lillis, so that the developer could build the notorious ‘Aero Center’, an office complex later to be bought at inflated prices by the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority’s pension fund.
The conspiracy earned five individuals prison terms following the ensuing trial, not including Lillis, who was cleared of all charges when he agreed to testify against his co-conspirators.
The two intelligence officers pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to defraud the Republic of Cyprus, punishable by up to five years in prison, and abuse of power, punishable by a jail-term of up to two years.
The offences were committed at various times from 2007 to 2010.
According to the state prosecutor, defence lawyers proposed that the defendants plead guilty to the two charges, in exchange for the rest being dropped.
The proposal was approved by the Attorney General, and following the guilty plea, the prosecutor withdrew the rest of the charges.
Presiding judge Evi Antoniou set January 7, 2016, as the trial date – during which the facts of the case will be read out, before sentencing.
The two men were released under terms.