Cyprus Mail

Mokas seeking assets worth nearly €400,000 from defendants in waste management case

Former Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis

The state’s anti-money laundering unit (Mokas) on Tuesday requested assets worth €372,600 to be seized from four defendants — including former Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis — who had been found guilty of corruption relating to the operation of two waste management plants in Larnaca and Paphos.

Louroudjiatis, the financial controller of Paphos municipality Demetris Patsalides, town planning department engineer Michalis Pantis, former town planning department engineer Giorgos Koullapis, and Helector Cyprus Ltd, were found guilty on February 7 following a long trial that started in 2016.

The case concerns waste management company Helector, the operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – which overcharged municipalities by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for backhanders.

Mokas petitioned the court to order the seizure of assets illegally obtained by the defendants.

From Louroudjiatis, Moklas is demanding €138,000; €124,600 from Patsalides; €10,000 from Pantis, and €100,000 from Koullapis.

The defendants were found guilty of conspiracy, bribery, abuse of power, and money laundering.

Former town planning department engineer Antonis Kourouzides, doctor Nicolas Koullapis, as well as the latter’s company, Midoriaco Ltd, were acquitted.

The state has appealed Kourouzides’ acquittal while all defendants have said they would appeal the verdict.

The Legal Service had described this as the worst case of bribery involving state officials ever brought before justice.

“The individuals implicated were all public officials and employees who received kickbacks worth over €1m to promote the interests of the accused company, Helector Cyprus Ltd, which managed the two projects,” the service said on February 7.

All defendants apart from Pantis objected the seizure request.

His lawyer, Chris Triantafyllides, said it would be unfair for his client to remain in custody pending adjudication of the request and sentencing.

Triantafyllides asked the court to separate his client’s case and sentence him without waiting for the outcome of the seizure request.

The court rejected the request but assured Triantafyllides that it did not intend to allow the process to drag on.

It afforded the prosecution three days to study the defence’s objections and respond. It also set March 9 for the mitigation hearing, a process that had initially been scheduled for Tuesday.

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