THE transcript of a secretly-recorded board meeting of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), which heard former Amsterdam chief Kleanthis Evripidou’s side of the story on allegations he squandered public money, as well as a private conversation between him and acting director Annita Demetriades in which she allegedly disparaged board members, was brought to light on Thursday.
The scandal-plagued body, which underwent a dramatic shake-up last year, was sued by Evripidou for wrongful termination in an Amsterdam court.
Last March, he was recalled to Cyprus by the board to explain medical bills he charged to the CTO’s medical fund, for which he had already been reimbursed by the health insurance scheme provided for by the organisation.
Evripidou’s health insurance cost the CTO around €1,300 a month, in addition to his €8,500 monthly salary.
At the board meeting, Evripidou admitted to have double-charged the expenses “by mistake”, but was subsequently fired.
In the ensuing trial, the former Amsterdam office chief submitted recordings from the board meeting he was called to, as well as a private conversation he had with Demetriades, whose office he visited after facing the board, which were published by Politis on Thursday.
“You are being wrongfully accused,” Demetriades appears to have told Evripidou.
Assuring him that he has nothing to worry about, she tells him that the entire incident is “a plot against him”.
Warning her that he would take the CTO to court, Demetriades urges him to take the board’s watchdog committee to court, as well as the CTO’s internal-audit department.
“The committee fell victim to one person that got carried away,” she told Evripidou.
“He got carried away and found the other idiots,” she added, referring to the gullibility of the rest of the board members.
Asked about Stelios Ioannides, chairman of the CTO’s watchdog committee, Demetriades said “he is unacceptable” and that “he didn’t help, he insisted that I send a letter to the attorney-general, asking that he launch a criminal investigation against” Evripidou.
“I was forced to send the letter, because he is dim-witted,” she said.
Next, the two discuss the internal auditor who unearthed the goings-on at the Amsterdam office, with Evripidou telling the acting director that the auditor “deceived” and “withheld evidence”.
“He is dangerous,” Demetriades replied, before the two agreed that he must go.
“When this case is over, it will be his turn,” she said.
In an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, the CTO’s board examined the situation in light of the latest developments.
“Our primary concern right now is the trial that will begin next week in Amsterdam,” said CTO chairman Angelos Loizou.
“Our main goal is for our country, our tourism, to suffer no damage from the trial – then we’ll examine the rest of the issues.”
According to Loizou, the legality of the recordings is questionable, as they were done without the knowledge of all involved.
“We want to examine the core of the issue first, but we will certainly examine the rest of it, too,” he said.
“This relates to individuals who have expressed themselves inappropriately, if the transcripts accurately reflect what was said.”