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Cyprus

TV watchdog waiting for bribe allegation briefing

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides

The radio and television authority (CRA) said on Monday that it has yet to receive any official briefing regarding recent allegations that two of its members were on the take.

Speaking in parliament, CRA head Neofytos Epaminondas said the authority has not been briefed by the police or anyone else on the details of the complaint filed earlier with the auditor-general.

All they know, he added, is that the matter is being handled by the auditor-general, who has relayed the information to law enforcement authorities.

Last week police confirmed they were investigating a report that a television station boss had been bribing two CRA officials in return for preferential treatment.

The businessman had reported to auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides last December that when he stopped giving the kickbacks, the CRA slapped his TV station with steep fines, much higher than those given to other stations for the same offences.

Michaelides said the station owner claimed to have paid the two officials, one of whom is no longer a member of the CRA, some tens of thousands of euros in kickbacks during the past two to three years.

The CRA was in parliament for a discussion of its budget for 2019.

Epaminondas said the body’s biggest challenge in the year ahead would be the implementation of an EU directive which will expand the CRA’s oversight to include online services, such as Youtube.

The EU directive needs to be transposed into Cypriot law.

 

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