Cyprus Mail

AG given updated probe into police corruption

Attorney-general Costas Clerides (Christos Theodorides)

Attorney-general Costas Clerides has just been handed an updated report into a police corruption probe, and will be studying its findings to determine whether any prosecutions are warranted.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the report contains additional information and depositions requested by Clerides after an initial report was delivered to him on January 10 of this year.

The initial report had consisted of 84 pages, not counting the annexes, and containing 330 depositions.

Launched on August 9, 2016, the probe was assigned to three independent criminal investigators – former Supreme Court judge and head of the Independent Authority to Investigate Complaints against the Police Andreas Paschalides, and former police officers Panayiotis Pelagias and Agamemnonas Demetriou.

The report focused on the chain of events leading up to the murder of businessman Fanos Kalopsidiotis in Ayia Napa last summer, in which three other individuals – two members of the police force, who had apparently been dining with the victim, and one of the two Albanian shooters – were also killed.

A third policeman – a member of riot squad Mmad, also with Kalospidiotis at the time of the incident – was badly injured in the shootout.

The presence of police officers in the company of the businessman raised questions, especially as it was suggested that members of the police force had inappropriate ties to members of the underworld.

The report suggested that several policemen took up night jobs as Kalopsidiotis’ private security detail.

According to media reports, the dossier handed over to the attorney-general back in January recommended the criminal prosecution of seven individuals and disciplinary probes on four others, over issues of corruption.

Criminal liability was suspected of policemen and officers involved in the handling of a tip from Interpol Belgrade shortly before the June 24, 2016 Ayia Napa killings hit informing Cyprus police that Serbian hitmen were on their way to the island to take out the businessman.

Reportedly, Cyprus police then notified the Serbian underworld ring that were carrying out the contract that investigators were on their heels.

The incident was explained as merely an error, but suspicion was rife that there was more to it than that.

In parallel to investigating the Ayia Napa hit itself – for which a trial is currently underway – the police force had asked the attorney-general’s office to look into possible graft and corruption in the force.

The recommendation for a separate probe came from police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou.

The justice ministry in the meantime has prepared and submitted to parliament a batch of bills aimed at combating corruption in law enforcement.

Among others, they relate to the protection of corruption whistleblowers and the lifting of the privilege of privacy in phone-tapping. Another bill provides for the establishment of an Internal Affairs unit within the police.

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