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State doctors referred to criminal court

Three state doctors held on suspicion of corruption, were on Friday referred to trial before the Nicosia Criminal Court that will convene in July.

The three doctors will be tried separately on bribery charges. The Nicosia Criminal Court will convene on July 6 at 8.30am. They were released on Friday pending their trial.

The three – the head of the ENT department and executive director of Nicosia general hospital Yiannakis Kyamides, Vasken Shahbenderian, who also served at the state hospital’s ENT department, and Dafnis Aristodemou, the head of Larnaca general hospital ENT department, were arrested last week in connection with taking backhanders to refer patients to a private hearing clinic.

Police said the management of the hearing centre in Nicosia had reported that the three suspects had been allegedly paid some €143,000 in kickbacks from 2008 until the present.

The suspects were allegedly taking advantage the state’s policy of subsidising various programmes for people suffering with hearing problems.

Specifically, for people who were born deaf, the state paid a €2,730 subsidy every four years and for pensioners over 65, €175 every four years.

The state granted €23,000 per implant but to be eligible, patients needed to have the approval of a state ENT, and their director.

The court heard that the suspects allegedly received between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the sale price of the hearing aids.

Police said the doctors demanded €300 for attaching hearing aids to people with congenital problems, €85 for each pensioner, and €2,000 for implants.

Investigators said they have documents from the hearing centre detailing the dates and amounts paid to Kyamides since 2008. The total reached some €128,000.

As regards Aristodemou, he allegedly received 2,685 in backhanders, while the third doctor received €13,000 between 2010 and 2014.

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