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Businessman and family members arrested in north over Kyrenia property scandal

Kyrenia

A prominent businessman in the north, members of his family and associates were arrested over a real estate scandal concerning property in Kyrenia, reports said on Tuesday.

According to Turkish Cypriot media, businessman Vakkas Altinbas, his son Mehmet, his daughter’s father-in-law Mehmet Akacan and four others were arrested on Monday and taken to court on Tuesday over irregularities concerning the purchase of prime real estate in the centre of Kyrenia. Another Altinbas family member believed to be implicated in the case is expected to be arrested on his return from a trip abroad.

One of the other people arrested told police that Altinbas had given him £1m to sign as a plenipotentiary in an illegal agreement concerning the purchase of property worth £7.05m in Kyrenia.

Altinbas reportedly paid £4m in advance to the owner of that property and issued two cheques for the remaining £3.05m but these were later cancelled by the director of one of Altinbas’ companies on the claim they had not received the 18 properties for which the overall amount was paid.

Reports said the man told police however that approximately two months after the Kyrenia property owner died he had prepared a fake document on Altinbas’ request for the purchase of the property. The man allegedly received around £1m from Altinbas for signing the contract as plenipotentiary. This allegedly took place in 2017.

Altinbas and his family however say they are the victims of a conspiracy against them.

Another member of the Altinbas family, Sofu, who is the chairman of the board of Altinbas Holding, said in a written statement they were the victims of a well-organised conspiracy and that they had done everything by the book.

According to an announcement they said they had paid £4 million and had issued cheques for the remaining but since they were not able to get the title deeds they cancelled them. Altinbas said the matter in question was to be settled in court.

All suspects are being investigated for issuing and circulating fake documents.


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