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Supreme Court upholds Helector corruption sentences

Former Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal made by waste management company Helector relating to a case dating back to 2016 that saw a former Larnaca mayor, three state officials and a private company found guilty of corruption over the operation of two plants in Larnaca and Paphos in February 2020.

The final Supreme Court verdict confirmed that the operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca –overcharged municipalities by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for backhanders.

Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis was sentenced to five years in prison. Along with him, the financial controller of Paphos municipality Demetris Patsalides, town planning department engineer Michalis Pantis, and former town planning department engineer Giorgos Koullapis were also found guilty in 2020, and their appeals rejected on Wednesday.

Helector was also ordered to pay a fine totalling €201,000.

Former town planning department engineer Antonis Kourouzides, who was also working at the interior ministry when the case was brought to light, was also found guilty on Wednesday after the Attorney General office appealed the decision to acquit him two years ago.

Kourouzides’ sentence will be pronounced on Thursday after his lawyers will present mitigating circumstances in his favour.

“The state entrusted the appellant with the benefit of the doubt. However, despite occupying positions as guardians of the interests of the state, people found to be linked to the case became involved in circles of corruption, receiving large sums of money in return and abusing their positions, thus betraying the citizens’ trust,” public prosecutor Ninos Kekkos said during the appeal.

“It is obvious that when crimes of this nature involving public figures take place, the punishment imposed must be severe and strongly involve the element of deterrence.”

According to statements made by the Legal Service in 2020, the affair was “the worst case of bribery of state officials and workers that was brought before Cypriot justice”.

The case in question concerned 83 charges relating to bribery, corruption, conspiracy and money laundering offences.

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