Cyprus Mail

Greek suspect Magiras released on conditions

Greek national Kyriacos Magiras, who had been wanted on a European arrest warrant for a bribery-related case in Cyprus, has reportedly been released on conditions after turning himself in to Greek authorities.

Magiras was placed under arrest in Athens on Wednesday after turning himself in to police. Appearing next before a magistrate, he challenged Cypriot authorities’ request for him to be extradited here.

Greek judicial authorities will be reviewing his request to decide whether he should be extradited or not to Cyprus.

Magiras is accused of being involved in the suspected bribery of former governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus Christodoulos Christodoulou in 2007.

On January 16, the Nicosia district court had issued a warrant for his arrest. Allowing time for the warrant to be executed, the judge adjourned the trial for March 22.

In an earlier interim ruling, the same court said all defendants must be physically present in the courtroom in order for the case to be referred to a criminal trial.

Magiras was one of the individuals for whom the International Court of Arbitration had asked Cyprus to refrain from issuing arrest warrants, since they would be required to be attend the hearings of a €1 billion redress claim brought by Marfin Investment Group (MIG) and several Greek businessmen against the Republic of Cyprus over its responsibility for the demise of Laiki bank.

But in December, the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) approved a request for Magiras’ arrest.

In addition to Christodoulou and Magiras, defendants in the case are Greek ship owner Michalis Zolotas, Michael Fole, Christodoulou’s daughter Athina, her former husband Andreas Kizourides, and companies AC Christodoulou Consultants Ltd, MIG, and Focus Maritime Corp.

MIG founder Andreas Vgenopoulos was also a defendant until his death last November.

Through AC Christodoulou Consultants, ostensibly a consulting firm, then-Central Bank chief Christodoulou is accused of having taken a €1-million bribe from Zolotas’ Focus, which in turn prosecutors say was a front for Vgenopoulos, whose MIG sought to buy a larger stake of Laiki in 2006 than was allowed by the CBC’s rules.

Athina Christodoulou and then-husband Kizourides were officially the consulting firm’s administrators.

At a tax evasion trial in 2014, Christodoulou confessed to not having declared the €1 million income but claimed it represented compensation for consultancy services over 10 years, paid in advance.

At the time, he was handed a five-month jail term for tax evasion.

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