Cyprus Mail

Larnaca official to face trial for corruption

A Larnaca municipal official has been referred to trial before the Criminal Court in connection with corruption, it was announced on Friday.

The trial is scheduled to start on July 5.

The defendant posted a €50,000 bail and surrendered all his travel documents. He will report to police three times a week.

Municipal secretary Lefteris Empedoclis, 55, is accused of taking €35,000 from a businessman who owns a restaurant in the Mackenzie beach area in connection with irregularities at his establishment.

He was arrested on May 25.

The alleged offence took place in September 2015.

In 1988, Theodosis Chrysostomou, a permanent resident of London, bought eight of nine flats in an apartment block located at Larnaca’s Mackenzie area.  Eight years ago he bought a restaurant on the ground floor of the building.

At the time of the purchase, the restaurant had a steel pergola covering the front of the building. The area was used as an extension of the restaurant. Chrysostomou used the pergola as a veranda for the first floor of the building.

According to existing legislation, all additions to the restaurant are illegal, but Chrysostomou believed the expansion of the restaurant was legal because he was paying an amount to the management committee of the building as rent for the use of the public spaces.

When he learned the extension was illegal he arranged a meeting with the Larnaca mayor where Empedoclis was also present.

At the meeting, it was suggested that Chrysostomou pay a fine of €15,000, but he said he needed to think it over. A few days later the municipal official told him the fine was €35,000.

Chrysostomou produced evidence in the form of bank statements that he withdrew the money on September 8, 2015. He allegedly handed it over to the suspect, but did not get a receipt.

About a month ago, Chrysostomou was informed that he had to appear in court in connection with the case. When he asked Empedoclis what would happen, he reportedly replied “the papers will come back to me and I will sort it out.”

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