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Cyprus

Court order assets of Helector defendants to be seized

The Helector run waste-management plant in Koshi

The Nicosia criminal court on Friday issued an order seizing close to €400,000 in assets 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 defendants were found guilty of conspiracy, bribery, abuse of power and money laundering.

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.

The state’s anti-money laundering unit Mokas petitioned the court to order the seizure of assets illegally obtained by the defendants.

From Louroudjiatis, Mokas demanded €138,000; €124,600 from Patsalides; €10,000 from Pantis, and €100,000 from Koullapis.

The attorney-general had secured a court order in March 2017 freezing the defendants’ assets.

On Friday, the three-member court unanimously decided that the assets could be seized by the state, rejecting the defence’s arguments.

A mitigation hearing will be held on March 9 during which defence lawyers will plea for the court’s leniency.

All defendants said they would appeal the February 7 guilty verdict.

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