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Cyprus

Helector boss will not be extradited to Cyprus (Update: adds AG)

Greek businessman Leonidas Bobolas, wanted by police in connection to a waste management investigation, will not be extradited to Cyprus, Greek judicial authorities decided on Wednesday.

In their ruling, Greece’s judicial authorities accepted the premise that the offences attributed to Bobolas – which he himself denies – took place in Greece, not Cyprus.

The panel’s decision was unanimous.

Cypriot authorities will determine their next move once they have acquired and reviewed the full text of the Greek ruling, Attorney-general Costas Clerides told the Cyprus News Agency.

At the same time, reports said, the Cypriot file on Bobolas was ordered delivered to Greek prosecutors who will look into it and determine whether there are grounds for indictment in Greece.

A ban on Bobolas from leaving Greece was also lifted.

Cyprus had asked Greece to extradite Bobolas, a Greek national facing charges of conspiracy to commit a criminal offence, bribing a public official and money laundering.

Bobolas is CEO of Helector, the company at the centre of a waste management scandal.

Helector, the operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – is alleged to have overcharged municipalities while public officials skimming off the top turned a blind eye.

Interviewed previously by Cypriot police, Helector executives have alleged that Bobolas was not only aware of the overcharging and the bribes, but was also orchestrating the backhanders from Athens.

The case will be heard at the Nicosia criminal court on June 15. So far12 persons have been indicted, and three more individuals are expected to be added to the charge sheet.

In April 2015 Bobolas – publisher of two newspapers in Greece and a stakeholder in the Mega television channel – was arrested in Greece on tax evasion charges.

His name featured in the so-called Lagarde list, a spreadsheet containing roughly 2,000 potential tax evaders with undeclared accounts at Swiss HSBC bank’s Geneva branch.

Bobolas was not indicted for tax evasion, having agreed to pay back some €1.8 million.



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