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Presidential candidate Christodoulides received overseas allowance when in Nicosia

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The foreign ministry has confirmed that during the financial crisis in 2013, presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides received a foreign posting allowance for months after the former diplomat was relocated to the island from Brussels.

During his last year at the foreign ministry, Christodoulides served as a spokesperson of the Cyprus presidency of the council of the European Union in Brussels. However, in March that year, he was sent back to Cyprus but continued to receive a monthly €4,860 as a general non-taxable cost of living allowance for being posted abroad for another four months, daily Politis said.

Asked about this, he urged reporters to contact the foreign ministry.

A source within the ministry confirmed the information, with Politis saying it was Christodoulides who demanded the benefit, citing financial difficulties due to the economic crisis.

However, the former diplomat and politician refused to comment on the matter further.

This took place during a period of financial crisis in Cyprus, with the exposure of banks and the haircut of thousands of deposits in the now defunct Laiki bank in March 2013. As a result, the foreign ministry was called on to take measures to reduce expenditure, including the downgrading of embassies and their relocation to premises with lower rents. Some diplomats serving abroad were buying office equipment at their own expense to contribute to the effort to reduce the foreign ministry’s costs, Politis said.

After Christodoulides was stationed back to Cyprus, he took over as director of the office of the permanent secretary of the then Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides. At that time, the 48-year-old diplomat was also a member of the permanent representation of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union and based on his position was receiving an annual €45,000.

His wife, Philippa Karsera, who is also a diplomat, was serving with him in Brussels with a similar salary.

While they were in Brussels, Christodoulides’ family was also receiving a household allowance and education allowances for any children.

During the same period when Christodoulides returned to Nicosia, Andreas Mavroyiannis, also a presidential candidate, became the permanent secretary of the ministry.

Mavroyiannis said Christodoulides was already in Cyprus when he took over and that he cannot remember what happened with the specific benefit. However, he said that he had argued with Christodoulides over some reductions on the education allowances before the latter was appointed as director of the president’s office.

Christodoulides was later appointed foreign minister after president Nicos Anastasiades’ re-election in 2018, a post he resigned earlier this year prior to the announcement of his independent candidacy in the 2023 presidential elections.

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