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Cyprus

Defendants in waste management scandal trial plead not guilty

Koshi waste management site

The 16 defendants in the case of alleged bribery and overcharging at the waste-management plants at Paphos and Koshi, Larnaca, pleaded not guilty on Monday, with the trial scheduled to resume in January 2017.

The defendants, facing a total of 104 charges, are municipal employees Demetris Patsalides, Stelios Papadopoulos, and Christos Petrou, civil servant Michalis Pantis, pensioners Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis, and Demetris Giannakopoulos, Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis, doctor Nicolas Koullapis, former Paphos Sewerage Board director Eftichios Malekkides, former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas, civil engineer Imad Bagle, chemical engineer Theofanis Lolos, and companies Enviroplan Consultants & Engineers, Helector Cyprus Ltd, and N.E. Midoriaco Ltd.

They face charges of bribery, conspiracy, fraud, money-laundering, abuse of power and forgery.

During Monday’s hearing, Nicolas Koullapis’ lawyer requested that his client’s ban from leaving the country be lifted as he needs to travel abroad on business from October 19 to 24.

The prosecution raised no objections, and the court granted the request, but ordered that the ban be reinstated on his return to Cyprus.

The ban applies to all defendants, with the exception of Vergas and Malekkides, who are serving six-year jail terms for their involvement in the Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) scandal.

The court heard that 164 witnesses will be called.

Greek construction magnate Leonidas Bobolas, chairman of Helector, is also involved in the case, and his extradition to Cyprus to stand trial has been asked of the Greek authorities.

However, a Greek court denied the extradition request on grounds that the alleged offences, which Cypriot investigators claim took place in Greece, fall under the jurisdiction of the Greek authorities.

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