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Turkish Cypriot lawyer of British con man to be extradited

akan kursat
Akan Kursat

Cyprus has ten days to submit the arrest warrant and other necessary documents for the extradition of Turkish Cypriot lawyer Akan Kursat from Italy, where he was arrested in connection with an EU warrant for selling Greek Cypriot properties, police said on Thursday.

Kursat will be brought to Cyprus within the timeframe, police spokesman Christos Andreou said.

However, a swirling media storm has been created in the north over the issue, linking him to British con man and drug dealer Gary Robb, who had swindled millions of pounds out of prospective Brits who wanted to buy property in the north. The properties were never completed.

Robb had been convicted in the Cyprus Republic and sentenced to ten months in prison by a Cypriot court, after he was extradited for selling Greek Cypriot land to Britons.

Kursat’s law office, established by his father Talat where he is also a partner, was closely linked to the Robb case, which is where the arrest warrants against both father and son stem from.

Complaints filed in the Republic said that between 2004-2005, Robb, as the director of the AGA Company, had promised the construction of 335 luxury houses 273,800 square metres of land in Klepini, Kyrenia.

The court heard that 261,589 square metres of that land belonged to Greek Cypriots, 4,661 square metres to the Republic, and the remaining 7,550 square metres to Turkish Cypriots.

“The building activity in question had been established by a visit of Greek Cypriots to the occupied area, and as a result of the investigation, which was carried out and the subsequent complaints, a European arrest warrant was issued against the appellant [Robb], dated June 8, 2007. This warrant was executed, and the appellant was surrendered by the British authorities to the Cyprus police on August 3, 2011,” the court decision said.

gary robb
Gary Robb

At the time the warrants were issued for Robb, similar warrants had been issued for both Talat and Akan Kursat.

However, another mystery into Akan Kursat has also been circulating, which authorities are still investigating, in relation to how he travelled to Italy, where he was arrested on New Year’s Eve at his hotel in Rome.

According to reports, Kursat claimed he travelled from Larnaca using his Cypriot ID, while other reports in the north said he travelled from Ercan (Tymbou) airport in the north. Authorities have yet to establish, how Kursat ended up in Italy.

Commenting to the Cyprus Mail on the circumstances of Kursat’s arrest in Italy on Wednesday, the police spokesman explained it was unclear whether he had travelled from a state-controlled airport or the north.

According to the spokesman, Kursat, if he travelled from Larnaca or Paphos, could have a different name on his ID documents than the one in the EU arrest warrant, which would have made it difficult for Cypriot authorities to establish his link to the warrant.

Justice Minister Anna Procopiou told CyBC that extradition processes were underway to bring him back to Cyprus to face justice.

“Someone that is usurping our properties will be brought to justice, this is what is important,” she said.

According to reports in the north on Thursday, Kursat’s remand in Italy has been extended until January 16.

Kursat is the husband of the north’s ‘deputy prime minister’ and CTP ‘MP’ Fazilet Ozdenefe.

Neither the party nor Ozedenefe have made remarks on the arrest. Ozdenefe is pegged to be in the Italy with her husband.

Robb went to live in northern Cyprus in 1997 after his Colosseum club in Stockton was raided by drugs officers the previous year. In January 2009, Robb was deported to England for “firearms offences” and was jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.

 

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