Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

One more arrest in Ayia Fyla loan scam (Update)

POLICE on Thursday arrested one of two remaining suspects sought in connection with a €12mln loan scam at the Ayia Fyla co-operative bank.

The suspect, 70, is thought to have acted on behalf of a businessman – already in police custody – in identifying various individuals and getting them to sign off as guarantors to loans.

The man, who is currently unemployed, was being questioned by Limassol CID and, according to the Cyprus News Agency, was cooperating with authorities.

He is reportedly the same person who is expected to testify for the prosecution in a prior case also involving dodgy loans at the same cooperative.

The current case concerns the approval of 11 loans worth €11.9m between 2007 and 2009.

Including the 70-year-old, police so far have 17 people in custody; one more suspect is being sought.

Earlier in the day, a 41-year-old property valuer who had been arrested in connection with the case was released without being charged after it transpired that he was not involved in the case.

Police said it had been determined that his company’s stamp and his signature, found on some land valuations, had been forged.

Ayia Fyla co-op committee members allegedly acted on behalf of two businessmen, approving loans without the required collateral, while valuers overvalued property to secure loans bigger than the actual value of the mortgage.

People with financial or psychological problems, often on state allowances, were paid or offered other things in return for their signature as guarantors.

The documents were later changed, making them the primary debtors without their knowledge.

Money from the loans ended up in the businessmen’s personal and company accounts.

The co-op officials who mediated were also rewarded financially.


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