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Katsourides to blame for conviction of innocent man, Christofias says

Nicos Katsourides likely to be welcomed back into the Akel fold

Former president Demetris Christofias said AKEL MP Nicos Katsourides had been involved in the CyTA pension fund scandal and was responsible for another party member taking the fall.

In an interview with online news portal Sigmalive, Christofias, who is also the former leader of AKEL, said Katsourides had violated the party’s principles.

“I think things speak for themselves,” he said. “That he stooped to being responsible for the imprisonment of a completely innocent comrade, and he knows it very well, says a lot.”

Christofias added that Katsourides had also breached other principles without elaborating.

Katsourides, a prominent member of the party, was indefinitely suspended in May last year apparently over his alleged involvement in the scandal.

He did not have to vacate his seat in parliament.

AKEL claimed at the time that the party had nothing to do with the scandal and that any involvement was “invented by political adversaries to besmirch the party name.”

The scandal, a land scam involving the purchase by the CyTA Pension Fund of Turkish Cypriot property in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, and the construction of an office complex at an inflated price, saw five people convicted in January 2015, including AKEL member Venizelos Zanettos.

Zanettos was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, after he was found guilty of extorting money from the main prosecution witness, businessman Nikos Lillis.

The party has always claimed that Zanettos was innocent.

In his court testimony, Zanettos had said that Katsourides was also involved.

“They questioned the wrong man,” Zanettos had said, maintaining that police fell short of doing their duty to investigate the case fully.

In its verdict, the court noted that Zanettos had failed to substantiate his claims that Katsourides was in any way involved.

The other people convicted are former CyTA board chairman Stathis Kittis, eight years, former EAC boss and former CyTA board member Charalambos Tsouris, three years, trade union representative and Cytavision director Orestis Vasiliou, nine years, and land registry official Gregoris Souroullas, six-and-a-half years.

 

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