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Cyprus

Man, 49, remanded after organised crime raid

Limassol court

Tasos Simillides, 49, was remanded for two days by the Limassol District Court on Saturday after police raided his home on Friday night.

The suspect was remanded on suspicion of illegal firearm possession, money laundering, and manipulation of personal data.

Authorities said that they dealt with Simillides in the past, and that he was arrested after investigations on properties he owns in Limassol.  The investigations, police noted, were part of the clampdown on organised crime.

During their investigations, police said they found and seized evidence from Simillides’ home, specifically, police found: an unlicenced hunting rifle, €32,160, and a number of CCTV cameras, believed to be recording scenes from a public space.

Two other individuals, suspected to be Simillides’ bodyguards, were also arrested on Friday night.  The men were charged in writing, released, and will be summoned to appear in court at a later date.

Simillides was arrested in 1997, after a murder attempt was made on Larnaca businessman  Antonis Fanieros, now deceased.  During police investigations at the time, Simillides became a main witness for the prosecution.

In May 1997, Fanieros was shot with an automatic rifle outside of a club he owned in Larnaca, according to Alithia newspaper.

According to media reports from the time, Simillides drove a motorcycle carrying Panicos Aeroporos.  Simillides told courts then that Aeroporos had fired on Fanieros.

At the time, Simillides told the court that he decided to tell the police everything, since he feared for his life.   “I was afraid that the Aeroporos brothers would kill me either on the night of the murder attempt on Fanieros, or later,” he told the court in 1997.

Simillides also told the court how they managed to escape after the attempted murder.  Media reports from the time said that in order to appear as a witness for the case, he requested police protection for his family.



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