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State doctor guilty of corruption

Nicosia general hospital

A state ear, nose, and throat doctor was found guilty of corruption on Tuesday, after he received backhanders to refer patients to a specific audiology company

ENT doctor at Nicosia general hospital Vasken Shahbenderian, was found guilty on 112 counts including bribery and money laundering for receiving €14,125 in backhanders between December 28, 2010 and September 9, 2013, to refer people to Efthimiades audiology centre where they had hearing aids fitted.

Two more state ENT doctors were charged for the same case.

The suspects were allegedly taking advantage of the state’s policy of subsidising various programmes for people suffering from hearing problems.

Specifically, for people who were born deaf, the state paid a €2,730 subsidy every four years and for pensioners over 65, €175 every four years.

The court said Shahbenderian received bribes in 25 instances.

The doctor claimed that the cash had been given to him as a sign of appreciation for his work.

The owners of the centre and their accountant testified that they wrote cheques to the defendant as part of a deal to refer patients to them.

“There is no doubt that the defendant collected the 25 cheques which he cashed,” the court said. “During the execution of his duties, he approved applications from pensioners – bypassing proper procedures — to receive state subsidies for an agreed fee.”

 

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