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Municipal officer facing corruption charges has case to answer

File Photo: Larnaca court

The Larnaca criminal court ruled on Thursday that a Larnaca municipal secretary facing corruption charges has a case to answer.

The defendant, Lefteris Empedocles, 57, is set to answer on November 28. Until then he will remain in custody at the central prisons.

Empedocles is currently on trial for theft, obtaining money under false pretences and money laundering in relation to €35,000 he allegedly took from a businessman to sort out building code infractions.

The businessman, Theodosis Chrysostomou, told the court that on September 8, 2015, he went to the bank with a friend and withdrew €35,000 in large notes. He then went to the defendant’s office in the town hall and gave him an envelope with the money he had allegedly asked for.

The criminal court ruled on Thursday that based on the material and testimonies before it Empedocles has a case to answer.

The defendant, the court said, has three choices; a sworn testimony, an unsworn statement from the dock or to remain silent.

Empedocles was arrested in 2016 after Chrysostomou told police that he had paid the municipal secretary €35,000 in cash to correct building irregularities.

He had initially met with Larnaca mayor at the time Andreas Louroudjiatis, who suggested the businessman should pay €15,000.

A few days later, Chrysostomou met Empedocles, who apparently said that as the size of the establishment was quite large, the amount would actually be €35,000.

The businessman agreed and paid up but the money was never officially received by the municipality and no procedures were initiated to correct the irregularities.

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