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Akel’s Venizelos Zanettos pardoned (Update)

High-ranking Akel member Venizelos Zanettos, currently serving a three-and-a-half year jail term over the Dromolaxia scandal, has been pardoned by President Nicos Anastasiades and will be released on Thursday, ahead of his normal release date of September 6, it was announced on Tuesday.

Zanettos and 37 other convicts have been pardoned ahead of the August 15 holiday.

Of the 38, the Cyprus News Agency reported, 25 are Greek Cypriots and 13 foreigners.

All will have served at least half their sentence by August 15.

The remainder of their sentence will be suspended for three years.

According to the pardoning rules, the Attorney-General’s office sends a list recommending pardons to the President for final approval.

Persons convicted of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking and crimes of sexual nature, are not eligible for pardon.

Presidential pardons are extended at Christmas, Easter, August 15 and October 1st, and aim to decongest the correctional facility and help reintroduce inmates to society.

Zanettos was arrested in October 2013 in connection with the high-profile case concerning the purchase by CyTA’s pension fund of a land plot in Dromolaxia at an inflated price.

The trial began in March 2014. It revolved around the purchase by CyTA’s pension fund of office space in Dromolaxia, near Larnaca airport, at a price several times the going market value. The land was initially sold to a company by the name of Wadnic Trading, which upgraded the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund for some €20 million.

The court delivered a guilty verdict for Zanettos; ex-CyTA boss Stathis Kittis; former Electricity Authority boss Charalambos Tsouris, who was a member of the board of directors of CyTA during the material time; trade union rep Orestis Vasiliou; land registry official Gregoris Souroullas; and the company Polleson Holdings Ltd as a legal entity.

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