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Turkish Cypriot to be extradited to Cyprus over property sales

akan kursat
Akan Kursat

Turkish Cypriot lawyer Akan Kursat, suspected and wanted for selling Greek Cypriot properties in the north, will be extradited to Cyprus this week from Italy, where he was arrested, authorities said on Monday.

Police confirmed the extradition to the Cyprus Mail, saying that a team of investigators would be heading to Italy this week to question Kursat, and bring him to Cyprus.

According to police spokesman Christos Andreou, the lawyer will then likely go to a remand hearing the day after arriving in Cyprus, after which he will be held in a Nicosia holding cell.

Kursat gave his consent last Thursday to be returned to Cyprus to face justice, after he initially rejected the extradition request last month on the basis that the central prisons were an unsafe location.

He told the court he would not be safe in a Cypriot prison, as a Turkish Cypriot detainee had been killed in 2022.

Originally, Kursat was arrested based on a European arrest warrant for the exploitation and sale of Greek Cypriot property in the north.

Kursat was arrested on New Year’s Eve at his hotel in Rome, based on an arrest warrant from 2007.

The warrant was related to property sales in Kyrenia in 2004-2005, where his office acted as the representative for British con man Gary Robb, who extorted millions out of Britons looking to buy property in the village of Klepini. The properties were never completed.

Kursat was initially arrested in 2005, on a Turkish passport, along with Robb and a Turkish Cypriot contractor, for fraud and exploitation of properties without approval of their rightful owner, perpetrated in his role as legal counsel to development company AGA Development.

A British couple sought justice following a fraudulent sale after the non-issuance of title deeds for a villa in the north.

The Republic then appears to have cancelled the arrest warrant, without recourse to Europol but in 2007 reissued another warrant, which added a fourth offender to the case – the project’s engineer.

In the meantime, Kursat is also a holder of Cypriot citizenship, authorities had previously confirmed, in 2004 and renewed his Cypriot passport in 2014.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou confirmed that Kursat had reapplied for a passport in 2014 and that the passport had been issued on July 23 the same year.

The passport was his second, after he had applied for his first in 2004 – before the issue of his first arrest warrant in 2005 and the European arrest warrant two years later.

It is believed that when Kursat applied for his passport in 2014, the Republic’s authorities either did not take into consideration the lists of people for whom there are outstanding arrest warrants or did not make the link between the name of the applicant and the name on the warrant.

 

On New Year’s Eve Kursat was arrested at a hotel in Rome where he was staying with his wife, the north’s ‘deputy parliament speaker’ and CTP ‘MP’ Fazilet Ozdenefe. They had gone there through Istanbul.

It is the first time a Turkish Cypriot bearing Cypriot citizenship will be tried for exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties in the north.

Meanwhile, the Turkish foreign ministry has been offering support to Kursat in the handling of the case.

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

The British police estimate that some 400 Britons lost a total of over €40 million in deals made with AGA Development.

It is alleged that Robb received between £5,000 and £10,000 a week from the drug trade in England and then sent this money to the north.

It is widely speculated that Greek Cypriot lawyer Rikkos Mappourides is Kursat’s defence lawyer.

 

 

 

 

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