Cyprus Mail

Russian detained amid petrol-pump rigging accusations

After more than four years, Cypriot authorities have detained a 57-year-old Russian national wanted on suspicion of rigging petrol pumps to charge more.

The man had been sought since March 2012, after the authorities discovered the fraud, suspicious of the very low sale prices.

He escaped to Russia, then to the Ukraine, but was eventually caught in Croatia, on an international arrest warrant, and sent to Cyprus on Thursday.

The suspect, who was remanded in custody for eight days, denied any involvement in the case, claiming the racket had been set up by others.

Authorities had discovered that pumps at four stations in Larnaca, Nicosia, and Paphos, had been rigged at the time.

They estimate that consumers had been robbed of around €46,000, paying for fuel they never got.

Authorities found electronic systems installed in the pumps, which controlled the flow of fuel. It was said at the time that the system could be activated – or deactivated – by a mobile phone, which was why it wasn’t in action when state officials carried out routine checks. The pumps had been programmed to give 5 per cent less fuel than what they displayed.

The scam had been confirmed by the pump manufacturer.

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