Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos has claimed that foreign ministry officials in China and France were involved in dodgy business involving kickbacks and the sale of antiquities.
The outspoken mayor, who has blown the whistle on a series of wrongdoings in the past, also charged that a Hungarian investor working with the archbishop on a huge development in Paphos, had made his money in the porn industry.
Speaking on privately owned Sigma television on Thursday evening, Phedonos said at least two officials in the island’s embassy in China were receiving kickbacks to send Chinese nationals to Cyprus to get passports and houses, as part of a government investment scheme.
He also said, without naming, that an ambassador in Paris had three associates in Paphos who “collected antiquities” and then send them to France where they were sold.
On Friday, the foreign ministry said it had no prior knowledge of the allegations but “it would have expected the Paphos mayor, if he really has any evidence in relation with those matters, to inform, as he ought to, the police and the foreign ministry.”
But Phedonos did not stop there.
He alleged that the investor behind a planned development on Church land in Yeroskipou had made his money in the porn industry.
Phedonos said people have been hearing so much about the man and the investment for the past four years “but no one told us the gentleman in question had made his money in the porn industry and at the same time he comes and goes in the Archbishopric.”
The mayor’s allegations apparently irked the Archbishop who criticised Phedonos during a live lunchtime news show on Sigma, describing the entire affair as vulgar and suggesting it was an organised effort to hurt the Church.
“The entire setting is unacceptable,” Chrysostomos said during a live phone call on the show. He censured Phedonos for not going to him first with the claims, accusing reporters of lying and taking part in an organised effort to hurt the Church.
“To me it’s very wrong. This situation does not honour you,” he said. “You want to hurt the Church but by hurting the Church you are hurting yourselves.”
Chrysostomos said the Church’s standing was high and it was not afraid of reporters or the mayor.
“I can respond to anyone but I don’t like vulgarity,” he said.