Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Remand for eight in alleged staged accident scam

Limassol court

Police managed to secure seven-day remand orders against eight suspects including two doctors and a physiotherapist in Limassol court Friday in connection with an allegedly staged car accident which took place in Paphos early last year.

Seven of the eight appeared in court, as the 77-year-old orthopaedist had been transferred to a private clinic for surgery because of health problems, he is under police guard.

Police, following a complaint from an insurance company, are investigating offences including attempt to obtain goods or services under false pretences, forgery and circulation of forged documents, as well as related conspiracy charges. Claims of over €43,000 were made in March 2015 which were not accepted by the insurance company.

The company based its complaint on the findings of a study carried out by a road collision expert which concluded that the accident involving two vehicles on January 6, 2015, appeared to have been staged.

Testimony implicating eleven people was secured by investigators prompting the arrests of ten on Wednesday. One of the suspects was abroad and police said they released two women on health grounds, one of them being heavily pregnant.

The judge in his decision said the evidence put before the court, substantiated a case and created reasonable suspicion of crimes having been committed. He also took into account the amount of investigative work remaining and the risk, if the suspects were released of witnesses being influenced or evidence destroyed.

The police had originally requested an eight-day remand order on Thursday, the suspects were represented by five lawyers which dragged out the proceedings to the point where it was decided to complete the process on Friday.

Police expect to arrest the wanted driver of one of the cars who is abroad as he is due back on the island after being informed of the situation.

According to the police, one of the vehicles involved, which was declared as destroyed in the crash, but repaired and sold on to another person, is expected to be located within 24 hours.

The court heard that a couple and their two children were travelling in the one car involved while the other contained a driver, co-driver and two foreign women. Police were not called to the scene of the purported accident.

Investigations brought to light the fact that the two drivers involved in were both panel beaters by trade who had a history of allegations of similar offences, and who used to cooperate together professionally.

Police told the court that nothing justified the claims made by those involved, “The specific accident never took place and the dents on the vehicles did not justify the damages those involved are claiming,“ the investigating officer told the court, saying that according to the expert’s report, the dents produced were caused before the supposed collision.

Police are continuing investigations in an attempt to find out if the suspects and the two retired public sector doctors, aged 78 and 72, as well as the physiotherapist were involved in any other similar cases.

The three are pleading ignorance, while their findings concerning the injuries are not supported by medical reports or x-rays and no records of any appointments supposedly attended by those being treated were found at the surgeries of the doctors or the physio.

The seven suspects who appeared before the court were the driver of one of the vehicle and his two adult children present at the alleged accident, and from the second vehicle the front passenger and one other, with one of the two orthopaedic doctors and a physiotherapist.





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