Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Waste case delayed as more suspects added to charge sheet (Updated)

Former Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis

The waste scandal case was on Wednesday referred to the Nicosia Criminal court, with the first hearing set for July 28.
In total, 16 persons – including two mayors, one current, one former – have been indicted in relation to an overcharging scam by the company operating two landfills.
The Nicosia Criminal Court was due to begin proceedings on Wednesday, but suspended and rescheduled for July 28, after the state prosecution added two more names to the charge sheet – Helector Cyprus Ltd, operators of the landfills, and another company by the name of N.E Midoriaco Ltd.
A similar procedure had taken place on April 26, when the case was suspended so that the prosecution could add to the charge sheet Enviroplan – the government’s consultants for the waste processing facilities at the landfills – and Theofanis Lolos, director of the same company.
As it stands, 16 persons are facing a total of 104 counts on charges including conspiracy to defraud, accepting a bribery, bribing a public official, abuse of power, breach of trust by a public official, conspiracy to commit a crime, money laundering, and obtaining money under false pretences.
The accused include 13 persons and three companies. The accused individuals were released with restrictions.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, 164 witnesses will be testifying during the trial.
The accused are: Demetrios Patsalides (municipal employee); Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos, Christos Petrou (civil servants); Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis, Demetrios Yiannakopoulos (pensioners); Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis; former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas; former head of the Paphos Sewerage Board Eftychios Malikkides; Nicholas Koullapis (doctor); Imad Baqle (mechanical engineer); Enviroplan S.A.; Theofanis Lolos (chemical engineer); N.E Midoriaco Ltd; and Helector Cyprus Ltd.
Helector is the company at the centre of the waste management scandal. As operator of the two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – the company is alleged to have overcharged municipalities – and ultimately the taxpayer – by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for skimming off the top.
Authorities have not been able to get Leonidas Bobolas, a Greek national and the CEO of Helector, extradited to Cyprus.
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.
A person of interest in the case, Bobolas was wanted for questioning in connection with suspected conspiracy to commit a criminal offence, bribing a public official and money laundering.
N.E Midoriaco Ltd is a company belonging to the wife of Georgios Koullapis, a former interior ministry officer and one of the 16 accused.
Koullapis, who retired in 2012, worked from 2002 to 2007 in the solid waste management department. He also sat on the committee appraising the tenders submitted for the Paphos and Larnaca landfills in question.
Koullapis’ son, Nicholas, is a doctor who landed the gig for examining Helector employees. The proceeds were allegedly funnelled into Midioraco.
The scandal came to light after a number of whistleblowers – some working in municipal authorities – reached out to authorities.



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