A 47-year-old woman was sentenced by Nicosia criminal court on Thursday to eight years in prison after being found guilty of theft by proxy and money laundering almost €2 million.
Irina Koumbari, who was found guilty of nine charges, stole €1.97m between February and November 2012 from a company to which she was offering administrative services.
Koumbari’s company, according to the court ruling, was providing the services to another company, Erilin Holdings Ltd – specifically, director, shareholder and account management services.
Between February and November 2012, Koumbari “acting fraudulently and intentionally, without the knowledge and consent of the real owner of Erilin, stole the total amount of €1.97m, which was deposited in an account at the Kaimakli Cooperative Bank”.
Koumbari, as the only person authorised to sign for the account, gave instructions to the branch for the transfer of that amount to a company she owned.
The severity of the offences committed by the defendant are undeniable, court said.
Both the offense of theft by proxy and that of money laundering are punishable by imprisonment of up to 14 years.
“We consider this case to be very serious, both because of the large amount that the accused has stolen and the circumstances under which the offenses were committed. We point out that no amount has been returned to the owners who have suffered huge damage without any prospect of reimbursement of any amount,” the court said in its ruling.
“In view of the above, and the need to impose a deterrent penalty due to the alarming extent of financial crime in our country, the sentence should be strict,” it added.
Notwithstanding the need for a severe punishment, the court also said it took into consideration her clean criminal record.
“We also take into consideration her personal and family circumstances … and in particular the fact that she is the mother of two underage children aged 15 and 7 and of an adult, 20 years old, whom she has adopted”.