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Cyprus

AG points finger at deputy police chief in leaking probe

Attorney-general Costas Clerides

Deputy chief of police Andreas Kyriacou appears to have been behind the unauthorised leaking of confidential reports on a foiled assassination attempt and police corruption to the press, attorney-general Costas Clerides said on Thursday.

In a statement announcing the key findings of a criminal investigation by former Supreme Court justice Andreas Paschalides and former police officials Panayiotis Pelagias and Agamemnon Demetriou, Clerides said the investigation sought to establish whether members of police were involved in corruption or graft.

The investigation was prompted by a letter by police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou laying out evidence gathered in the process of investigating the quadruple murder in Ayia Napa last June, in which a police sergeant had been one of the victims.

A second letter, from Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou, informed Clerides of an incident in which Serbian Interpol had notified their Cyprus counterparts of the impending arrival of Serbian contract killers, and the local branch’s botched handling of the tip.

With regard to the Serbian Interpol affair, Clerides said that although omissions and inadequate handling were diagnosed, no evidence of intentional foul-play was found.

A second issue with regard to the incident saw a Cypriot policeman tip off a Serbian man, suspected of arranging contract killings.

The policeman appeared to have called a number he found on a piece of paper, on which another policeman had jotted the words “Interpol Serbia”, claiming he had mistaken it for the number to the Serbian Interpol.

Information pointing to the wiring of €1,000 to the Serbian suspect by order of Marios ‘Benny’ Christodoulou – recently found guilty in court for the quadruple murder – showed that the prison warden who carried out the wire transfer had no prior knowledge of its purpose.

On all three counts, the AG found no evidence of criminal action but recommended that the chief of police look into any possible disciplinary offences.

Investigation into the subsequent leaking of the file containing the tip from Serbian Interpol to the press suggested that the only person with access to all the leaked data had been deputy chief Andreas Kyriacou.

The body of evidence on this aspect justifies the launching of a criminal case against Kyriacou for leaking classified information, the AG said.

Kyriacou was also identified as the likely leaker of a 2015 internal police report on preventing and combating corruption to an MP and the press.

If indicted, the deputy chief of police could face a sentence of one year in prison or a fine up to €1,700, or both, for each leak.

The final leg of the investigation focused on the alleged co-operation of policemen with suspected members of the underworld.

Evidence collected suggested that four members of police maintained a close social relationship for many years with businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis, murdered in the Ayia Napa assassination.

Some of them may also have had business dealings with him, offering personal security services.

Even though this information had been known to police since 2011, the AG said, the issue was never seriously addressed, with the exception of the transfer of individual policemen “away from the source of the relationship”.

“Unfortunately, the failure to investigate this unacceptable state of affairs by police in a timely manner has greatly undermined the building of particular criminal cases,” Clerides reported.

Coupled with the traditional unwillingness of other members of police to testify on such issues, he added, this resulted in the inability to substantiate claims and suspicions.

“Given the above, a strong recommendation is made to the leadership of police to investigate whether these members of police committed any disciplinary offences,” Clerides said.

“The tolerance exhibited for a number of years, which contributed to the continuation of their provocative behaviour, must under no circumstances be continued.”



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