The prosecution’s audit report on the financial dealings of former Paphos municipality councillor Yiorgos Michaelides did not reflect the true picture, as it presented a picture from 2000 to 2014, instead of the years in question – 2008 to 2010 – a defence witness told the court on Monday.
Michaelides, along with former EDEK MP and Paphos mayor Fidias Sarikas, and former councillors Efstathios Efstathiou, Vasos Vasiliou, and Yiorgos Shailis, are facing charges of money laundering and taking bribes from contractors awarded Paphos Sewerage Board (Sapa) projects.
In court on Monday, Michaelides’ lawyer Christos Hadjiloizou called four witnesses.
The first, the Bank of Cyprus’ Christina Ataliotou, testified that Michaelides deposited two cheques, one for 25,000 and the other for 1,000 Cyprus pounds, as well as the sum of 200,000 Cyprus pounds in cash.
Hadjiloizou then called his second witness for the day, accountant Andreas Demetriou.
The witness said he was the accountant of KMG, the construction firm Michaelides founded with two partners, which built and sold six villas in Argaka, Paphos.
Demetriou added that, on various occasions, Michaelides, an architect, was paid by the firm for blueprints, studies and oversight of the construction of the villas.
Asked why the firm failed to issue an invoice for the sum of €18,500 received in January 2008, Demetriou replied that, unfortunately, many firms do not issue invoices.
Given this, the prosecution submitted, the accounts presented by Demetriou were not particularly credible.
Additionally, the state prosecutor submitted that a cash-only policy is a common occurrence in money-laundering.
The witness replied that he advised the company’s shareholders to refrain from dealing in cash.
With regard to discrepancies in Michaelides’ bank accounts and the income he declared in his tax returns, Demetriou said this could only be justified with “convincing explanations”.
The defence’s third witness was Efthimia Anastasiou, Michaelides’ sister-in-law.
She testified on her personal relationship with the defendant, confirming that her and her sister’s – Michaelides’ late wife – mother and aunts supported, and continue to support, him in raising his children.
The final witness called by the defence was Kyriacos Droushiotis, a certified accountant who did Michaelides’ and his firm’s tax returns.
Droushiotis said the audit report prepared by the prosecution on the defendant’s financial dealings focused on the period from 2000 to 2014, instead of the period under scrutiny – from 2008 to 2010.
The final report does not reflect the truth, he added.
Droushiotis presented his own report, saying he used evidence-backed analysis, which can account for the discrepancies noted.